FALMOUTH – The recent demolition of several historic buildings in Falmouth has spurred locals into action.
A new Falmouth nonprofit called the Falmouth Preservation Alliance has formed to help save historic structures. Organizers believe the alliance is the only historic preservation trust on Cape Cod.
The group was started after several buildings were torn down by developers over the past two years.
“I think it was a reaction to what we’ve seen in the last couple of years in this town where buildings with major historical attributes have been threatened with demolition and people wanted to do something about it,” Alliance Board member Eric Turkington said.
Among the buildings that were partially demolished this year was the Nimrod, which was built in the 1800s survived a cannonball assault during the War of 1812.
A developer had wanted to demolish the building but after townspeople balked, he agreed to save the section of the structure that contains the cannonball hole left over from the cannonball shot from the British ship Nimrod.
Turkington said that was the project that started the idea for a group such as the alliance to work with developers who want to tear down historic structures.
“That building was about to be torn down and people just said, ‘Wait a minute. This is our history and this is a really important thing to try to save,'” Turkington said.
Another historic building, the Elm Arch Inn, was threatened with destruction by a developer. The Town of Falmouth referred the development to the Cape Cod Commission and the developer abandoned the project.
The Zylinski house, an 18th century structure in front of the Falmouth Mall in Teaticket, was torn down this past summer to be replaced by a tire store.
Nearby, the Davis House, built by the 19th century sea captain who gave his name to the road Davis Straits, was torn down just in the past month.
“I think part of the idea is to let owners of buildings like these know that they’re important to the town and that they would be well advised to work with this group or other groups to plan for the future of the building,” he said.
The Falmouth Preservation Alliance is looking to build up a base of donors and members to support the cause. Part of the group’s mission will include educating the public on how to reuse historic buildings instead of demolishing them.