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Housing Trust Considers Buying Historic Lawrence Homestead

The Lawrence Homestead was the site of the 1707 kidnapping of 3 Tarbell children, one girl and two boys, by Native Americans. The girl was given to a French family in Montreal and eventually became a nun; the boys became prominent members of their tribe and refused to return to their Groton home, years later, when given the chance.

by Connie Sartini

 

   One of Groton’s most historic houses was on the Tuesday evening agenda for the Affordable Housing Trust (AFT) for discussion as a possible site to locate affordable housing near the center of Groton. The property is known as the Lawrence Homestead at 44 Farmers Row at the corner of Route 225.

   The building, owned by the Lawrence Homestead Trust, contains eight units of rental housing and reportedly has most recently been leased by Lawrence Academy for employee housing. Members of the AFT believe that no one is living in the building at this time.

   The parcel contains almost 35 acres, 30 of which were donated to the town by the Lawrence Homestead Trust in 1995 under a Conservation Restriction.

   According to the AHT background information, the house was built in 1798 and owned over the years by many prominent Groton residents. It was also the site of the kidnapping of three Tarbell children by Native Americans in 1707. 

   The assessed value of the property is more than $1.1M, is on town water with private sewerage, and is located in the Historic District.

  AHT Chairman Stuart Schulman said he would like to know the cost to make the property into eight affordable units of housing and to verify whether or not it is for sale and if so, to conduct a walk-through to see the condition of the structure.

   Housing Coordinator Fran Stanley concurred that the potential for this needs to be investigated further, because the AHT would need to be ready to take any action. 

  An affordable unit is defined as limited to  persons making 80 percent of the area median income or about $55,000 depending upon the size of the unit, which could be rented or purchased.

   Before moving forward, the Affordable Housing Trust welcomed assistance from Assessor Donald Black, who offered to contact Edward Lawrence at the Lawrence Homestead Trust to determine whether this property was, in fact, for sale. He will report back to the Trust with an update as to the status of the property.

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