Historical Society Votes Not to Sell Putnam Home - NECN


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Historical Society Votes Not to Sell Putnam Home



    Proposed Sale of Historic Home Sparks Feud

    The family who gave the General Israel Putnam Home to the Danvers Historical Society wants it back. (Published Friday, April 7, 2017)

    The Danvers Historical Society voted not to sell Major General Putnam's home. 

    The battle over who should care for a historical landmark continues in Danvers, Massachusetts. The family who gifted the General Israel Putnam Home to the Historical Society wants it back.

    "We want to take care of the house," said Galo Putnam Emerson, a descendant of Major General Israel Putnam. "It's the family's responsibility."

    The home was built in 1648 and is where Major General Israel Putnam was born.

    "He was put in command at the battle of Bunker Hill," said Emerson. "He is credited by some with having said 'don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes.'"

    Putnam family descendants gifted the historical landmark to the Danvers Historical Society in 1991, but it has fallen short of keeping it well restored.

    "This was more than they could accomplish," said Emerson.

    The society's current president, Thomas Page, acknowledges that.

    "I bear no blame on anybody, but we failed the house itself," said Page.

    From broken bricks to chipped paint, the historical society said restoration would cost more than it could afford.

    "It'll cost the owner about $200,000 to repair it," said Page.

    The society voted Thursday night not to sell the home.

    Emerson said the family helped care for the home alongside the society until 2011.

    He said the Putnam-Emerson family fronted all of the money that went into the home.

    "A quarter of $1 million the family has provided to take care of this house," said Emerson.

    According to Emerson, In 2004 the society sent a letter to the family begging them to take the home back.

    This time the society said the family has to buy it if they want it.

    "Don't you think it's audacious, now to come back to say we can't take care of the house, we'll sell it to you for $365,000," said Emerson.

    When asked about the letter sent to the family, Page said he didn't have knowledge of it. He's only been the president of the society for about a year.

    Page said the home can't be gifted back to the family because of state laws.

    "It's the law," said Page. "It's our judiciary duty to sell the assets that we own at fair market value."

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