FOXBORO — An early-19th century homestead on North Street has been tapped for demolition by the Kraft Group, making it the fourth historic home in town threatened with destruction in little over a year.
The Kraft Group bought the Amos Morse house in 2001 around the same time it built Putnam Way, the back entrance to Gillette Stadium off North Street, according to Mark Ferencik, historical commission chairman.
The commission has been in contact with the Krafts over the years in an effort to preserve the Morse house. They even had two parties interested in buying and restoring it, Ferencik said, but they were turned down.
Jeremie Smith, manager of business development and external affairs for the Kraft Group, said the organization never put the home up for sale. However, in May 2017 it did receive “a really low financial offer, well below what we paid for the property in 2001 and significantly less than what the property was assessed at currently.”
The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which recognizes the significance of a property to the community, state or nation. It was built in 1803 by Simon Morse for his son Amos. In the early 1820s, it was leased out as a straw shop, where women gathered every afternoon to braid straw and make hats, an important industry in Foxboro at the time.
“It’s a nice old house but it’s fallen on hard times,” Ferencik said. “It’s gone from a house that people were living in and on the National Register to abandoned and in disrepair.”
Ferencik and other members of the commission will be touring the home on Nov. 10.
They will hear from Dan Krantz, director of site development for the Kraft Group, at their Nov. 26 meeting.
Usually, the commission would have only 30 days to act on a demolition request, but they were granted a 30-day extension.
While the Kraft Group has applied for a demolition permit, Smith said it hopes to “work with the historical commission to find a meaningful way to preserve the history of the property. We don’t simply want to take down the structure.”
Smith added the Kraft Group would continue to “explore reclamation options that would keep historical or important pieces of the property in the community while moving forward with our request.”
The North Street property is one of four historic homes in Foxboro that have either faced the threat of demolition or been torn down in little more than a year.
In October 2017, the owner of 31 and 37 South St., Joseph Lynch, announced he intended to demolish the two properties to make way for three new residential and commercial buildings. However, while the six-month delay the commission imposed has run out, he has yet to act on either property.
And just two months ago, the Squire Elias Nason house at 85 South St. was demolished following the expiration of another six-month delay imposed by the commission. The owner, Mark Carroll of Carroll Construction Corp., is building a new single-family home there.