The Historical Commission reached out to Tabor’s new Head of School, Tony Jaccaci, upon his arrival in July. Soon thereafter, we met with him and had a very productive discussion about the building’s history and significance in the context of Marion’s Resort Era growth.
We are hopeful that our offer to collaborate with Tabor will produce a renovation plan that is both economically feasible and functionally integrated with Tabor’s long-range plans. We discussed the opportunity to co-host a public lecture about the property to generate local interest and awareness. We encouraged Tabor to proceed with a reuse feasibility study. We will await further action until Mr. Jaccaci and the Board of Trustees have determined how they wish to proceed.
The Historical Commission reached out to Tabor Academy recently and we were provided with the following response:
Tabor has postponed the Percy Brown House project due to COVID-19.
The Historical Commission will plan to offer a public lecture on the building’s architectural significance and importance within the catalogue of Henry Hobson Richardson’s work, at such time as public meetings are again allowed.
It is our understanding that Tabor Academy is revising their earlier plan to demolish the Percy Browne House at 192 Front Street and considering multiple options for renovation and repurposing.
The building was built in 1881-1882 and was designed by noted architect Henry Hobson Richardson. It is considered an exceptional example of an early Shingle Style home and a critical element in the canon of Richardson’s designs. It has been studied extensively by a number of renowned architectural historians, and is consistently praised for its distinctive vocabulary of innovative design elements and use of broad expanses of shingles, from which the style soon earned its name.
Preservation Massachusetts (PM), the state-wide non-profit historic preservation organization dedicated to preserving the Commonwealth’s historic and cultural heritage, was invited by Tabor Academy to collaborate and advise on the project. PM has taken on the role of collaborative point person – hearing from and working with a variety of interested parties – and implementing a strategy to connect and engage with the property owner about the potential and future of Richardson’s smallest commission. Demolition is off the table for the time being and ongoing work continues in an effort to present realistic options and resources for the property. This collaboration with both the owner and interested/concerned parties has laid the foundation for reaching a positive preservation outcome for this truly historic and hidden gem.