By Ed Harris
The Southington YMCA has decided to leave the Olney house on North Main Street alone for now and will revisit possible preservation possibilities once it completes its other development projects.
“The house is safe,” YMCA Executive Director John Myers said. “It’s weather proof.”
The New Britain Superior Court issued a temporary injunction barring the Southington YMCA from demolishing houset as part of a plan to add additional parking at the facility last year.
The injunction, secured by the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, protected the house through January 30. During this time the Trust will work on possible solutions to preserving the home.
The home was built in the early 1800s by Samuel Andrews, a Revolutionary War veteran. Jesse Olney, a world traveler, geographical textbook author and politician, moved in around the mid-1800s and lived in the house for 21 years. His son lived in the house after Olney left.
In his lifetime, Olney also worked for education reform, served in the state legislature and worked as the state controller.
The brick federal building has undergone a few renovations over the years, but it is still structurally sound and is the only brick home remaining in town.
Helen Higgins, Executive Director of the Connecticut Trust, spoke highly of the YMCA’s commitment to the community and the cooperative spirit of the discussions about the Andrews-Olney House.
“Members of the Southington Historical Society brought the proposed demolition of the Andrews-Olney House to our attention,” Higgins said in a release. “Through the Connecticut Trust’s field service program, one of our Circuit Riders was available to offer guidance and technical assistance to the YMCA on this issue. The result is a clear win for all involved.”
The Southington YMCA purchased the property on Sept. 2 2011 for $290,000. The home was listed as for sale as of June 2011.
“It’s still an asset for us,” Myers said of the Olney house, noting that the YMCA would look at obtaining possible grants for renovations once the organization’s other projects are completed.