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City to Delay Demolition Of Cambridge St. House

By William E. Mckibben

Ruling that a three-story frame house was "historically significant," the Cambridge Historical Commission yesterday refused to grant Harvard a demolition permit for a home at 1746 Cambridge St., slated to be torn down as part of the Fogg Museum expansion.

The board, which can only prevent the demolition for six months, also asked University planners "to consider other methods of preserving the building."

Seymour N. Slive, director of the Fogg, said after the commission meeting that his staff "would certainly take seriously the community suggestions and go back to the drafting board."

Other Harvard officials, however, said yesterday the six-month delay would not interfere with construction plans--which cannot begin until next spring--and added that it was possible Harvard would proceed with the demolition once the moratorium expired.

The board did grant a demolition permit for 1750 Cambridge St., another house more directly in the path of the Fogg expansion, scheduled to begin sometime this year.

Robust

Historical Commission officials called the house at 1746 a "very robust and inventive" example of the architecture of James Fogarty, a local designer in vogue during the late 1880s.

"It's the most energetic and best preserved" of a series of houses Fogarty built which were Queen Anne mansard hybrids. Susan Maycock, an architectural historian on the staff of the Cambridge Historical Commission, said.

Slive who said the Fogg was "bursting at the seams," called the building "a last gasp of the mansard style," adding that it was "out of context with the neighborhood."

Our Garden

The house site, which will be used as a staging area during construction of the new 60,000 square foot wing, will later serve as a "sculpture garden and open space," Slive said.

Slive offered to sell the building for a dollar "to anyone who will move it away." When board members suggested that the building be used for museum offices. Slive said the plan was impractical because "our staff works in close proximity to the actual art objects."

The board reviewed the proposed demolitions because the houses were more than 50 years old. The demolition of Allston Burr lecture hall, also slated to be torn down, will not require similar approval.

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