City historic district official urges relocating 1828 Greek Revival house in New London

New London - A city resident with a passion for historic buildings is trying to drum up support to save an 1828 Greek Revival house on Ocean Avenue that is destined for demolition.

"We need help now,'' said Richard Humphreville, chairman of the city's Historic District Commission, who wants to dismantle the 20-by-21-foot wooden house, number the boards and reassemble it somewhere in the city.

"It's a symbolic thing,'' Humphreville told the City Council on Monday. "New London needs something positive and this tiny little building, in a salient spot, can help New London."

The house was built by Isaac Thompson, an entrepreneur involved in starting up the Savings Bank of New London, the Union Insurance Co., the New London Female Academy and an early ferry company. One of the home's first tenants was Daniel Penhallow, a stonemason whose work reportedly was in demand during the city's whaling era.

"Symbolically, your support is critical here,'' Humphreville said. "If you can help me rally the support of the city's workers and citizens, the saving of this building can happen. Time is very critical here, even seeing you down there for a four-hour stint would send out the right message."

The house at 94 Ocean Ave. is owned by Saos LLC and the owners of the abutting Ocean Pizza want to tear down the building to make way for a driveway leading to a rear parking lot for the restaurant. The pizza business owners, who have been in the city for 50 years, agreed to sell the building for $1 if someone wanted to move it.

Humphreville said he would like to reassemble the house somewhere else in the city, possibly in the Fort Trumbull area.

Council President Michael Passero said city officials are looking for a piece of property to relocate the house.

Passero said he, too, "is more than willing to help you in whatever way possible to save that building."

Humphreville said Monday he has gathered four volunteers to take down the building but needs more help.

Anyone interested in helping Humphreville can call (860) 442-5003 or email humpy@humphrevillefurniture.com.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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