It is regrettable, and more than a little ironic, that a history-rich structure in Manchester may soon be no more because the Catholic Diocese is concerned about its reputation.
As Union Leader reporter Mark Hayward outlined in his latest City Matters column, the once-handsome Chandler House on Walnut Street is about to be demolished. This would happen even though there have been valid offers of interest in preserving the property and even though the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance once listed it on its Seven to Save program.
The diocese has been burned on occasion when it sold a former church and a subsequent owner turned it into an eatery and made light of it on its menu of religious items.
The Chandler House is not a church, although it shares a lot with St. Hedwig Church, and was formerly home to bishops of the diocese and was once a convent.
Some prospective owners balked at covenants that would severely restrict future uses of the home. Others, like the nearby Currier Museum, were willing to abide by certain restrictions as to the house’s future use, but that apparently wasn’t good enough for the diocese.
The diocese seems not to have the money or the interest in restoring the property itself; even as its food bank and other community needs grow.
Instead, the home faces the wrecking ball unless Mayor Joyce Craig’s last-minute entreaty, along with an online petition spurred by Hayward’s column, can sway Bishop Peter Libasci. We hope that’s the case.