Kingston votes to raze historic house; TV star Bronson Pinchot calls

Union Leader Correspondent
March 26. 2013 9:46PM
Kingston's historic Grace Daley House, slated to be torn down, could be featured on a new TV show. (JASON SCHREIBER PHOTO)

KINGSTON - A 19th-century house that voters decided to demolish could be given a new life if a TV star with a passion for building restoration has his way.

Bronson Pinchot recently sent a letter to selectmen expressing an interest in featuring the town-owned Grace Daley House in a new show currently in production called "Bronson Pinchot Saves America."

The actor, who's appeared in numerous television series and movies, is best known for playing Balki Bartokomous in the sitcom "Perfect Strangers" in the 1980s and 1990s. He has already spoken with Selectman Mark Heitz.

The future of the historic house built on Main Street in 1834 was decided earlier this month when voters rejected a $150,000 proposal to renovate the building, now used for a thrift shop run by a nonprofit organization. Instead, voters passed a separate proposal to raze the house, which sits on a narrow strip of land on Main Street next to the Kingston Town Hall. But Pinchot may have a way to save at least some of the building.

The new show, which Pinchot described as an "unscripted" series as opposed to a reality show, would feature houses built between the mid-18th and mid-19th centuries that are dismantled, with some of the materials used in other house restoration projects.

At this point, Pinchot said he's only seen photographs showing the exterior of the Grace Daley House.

Pinchot also stars in another show, "The Bronson Pinchot Project," which is now in its second season on the DIY Network. That show features Pinchot and a crew of contractors who restore neglected homes in rural Harford, Penn.

Pinchot's proposal is the last thing selectmen expected, but they're receptive.

"We look at it as beneficial. It's good press for the town and could reduce the cost of removing the building. We're looking at it as a savings to the community," Heitz said.

Some people have asked why the town isn't selling the property. Heitz said the lot is too small and the house and the town hall property also share a well and septic

For now, Heitz said selectmen have no timeline for removing the building.

"It's not something that has to be done tomorrow," he said.

Road Agent Rich St. Hilaire was also in contact with Pinchot Tuesday and sent him pictures of the house.

"If it's not going to cost the town anything and it's going to be reused, then that's a good thing," he said.

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