Owners of historic home support moratorium

My husband and I own the Orland Bassett house on Sixth Street. We are restoring this incredible home after a terrible fire because we consider ourselves custodians of history and beauty as well as titleholders of a personal property. Owning and maintaining an older home obviously requires a special commitment of time and attention. However, we take seriously the responsibility of living in a historic district and felt an obligation to rebuild as one of many families that have stewarded the Bassett house through the decades.

Sadly, little protection is given to Hinsdale’s historic districts in terms of what can and cannot be built in them. Such districts (found across our nation) are by definition composed of historically and architecturally significant buildings. Architectural details unique to a particular time period lend each district its character and charm. The character of our neighborhood, once filled with homes built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is being steadily eroded under current regulations and will suffer a serious blow with the loss of the homes currently slated for demolition.

Razing a structurally sound historic building is almost never appropriate for a historic district. In Hinsdale, designating demolition as “inappropriate” means nothing as a practical matter. A temporary moratorium on the demolition of historic properties will enable us to thoughtfully determine, together as citizens, how to balance the valid concerns of each property owner with the benefits we all enjoy from having distinct and beautiful historical architecture on our streets and lanes. — Jennifer Reenan, Hinsdale