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1918 document could help save Milton’s Swift House

| July 11, 2014

By Ken Green, Times Staff

Milton, MA – Members of the Historical Commission are hoping that a town document from 1918 will be the hidden key that could help save the historic Swift House from ultimately being demolished.

The more than 200-year-old wooden two-story structure, known by many as the iconic “red house” near the intersection of Adams and Wharf Streets, has been the subject of several discussions between the commission and other town departments concerning its future.

The commission is hoping to save the structure, which at one time was under a demolition order, by moving it slightly north of its current location. The current owner of the building once known as the Swift Hat Shop, Mike Roberts, has offered to pay for stabilizing and moving the building to the new location.

At the commission’s meeting on June 24, Chairman Steve O’Donnell said that he had been informed by a town official that the land eyed for the new location, originally thought to be under the control of the Parks and Recreation Department, may actually be under town control but merely under Park Department jurisdiction.– “My understanding is that … the lessor is the Board of Selectmen and the Park Department … has the responsibility of maintaining it,” said O’Donnell. “So it’s conceivable that it’s not going to be up to the Park Department.”

Planning Director William Clark said the information in the 1918 document – as well as another from 1916 – suggests that might be the case. But he added it isn’t entirely clear and that more research will need to be done.

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