The Falmouth Planning Board voted Tuesday, February 11, to allow the historic yet deteriorating Nimrod property on Dillingham Avenue to be demolished.
The property owner intends to tear down the 321-year-old home and start building from scratch, instead of renovating it as he originally intended and presented to the planning board.
In a February 4 letter to the board, Lionel Pinsonneault, who purchased the property in 2018, stated that the building was compromised, structurally unsafe and in danger of collapsing.
Assistant Town Planner Corey Pacheco clarified that the new structure would be built to match the look of the current building. Pinsonneault Builders would continue with the approved site plan to create a mixed-use site including apartments and commercial space on the 1.3-acre lot.
“The sooner they take it down, the better…vagrants are using the building. Anything we can do to expedite the improvement of this site is a good thing,” said Charlotte Harris, board vice chairman.
When purchased the extent of the damage was unknown, Mr. Pinsonneault wrote in the letter to the board. Roofing and windows are missing, resulting in substantial damage from water penetration, he explained.
Before demolition the owners will seek a waiver from the town’s historical commission, since the Nimrod is on Falmouth’s list of significant buildings.
The building was named for the British man-of-war HMS Nimrod, which shelled Falmouth during the War of 1812. One of the cannon balls struck the building and is still embedded in a wall.
It was actually two homes. A small house built in the 1600s. The larger house was built in the early 1700s by the Lewis family. Both houses were moved to the corner of Main and Gifford streets and connected to make a single house. Henry J. Welch Jr. turned the building into a guest house in 1947 and named it the Boxwood Club. It was moved to its present location in the 1950s.