Demolition of two historic structures delayed

The Reading Historical Commission has issued a six-month demolition delay for two historic structures at 186 Summer Avenue. Known as Kemp Place, the property is home to a primary residence and a barn, commonly known as the carriage house. The two structures were built in 1853 and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The home is an example of the Italianate architectural style, according to the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System. The owner of the property, Debra A. Shontz-Stackpole, wants to raze both structures, which reportedly suffer from wood rot. Criterion Child Enrichment plans to purchase the property, according to paperwork filed by Shontz-Stackpole with the town Building Department. Founded in 1985, Criterion provides community-based developmental enrichment groups, child care, early intervention, and newborn home visiting programs. Area residents, dismayed by the possible demolition of the historic structures, have formed a coalition called 01867 Neighborhood Preservation. The group hopes to help find a way to preserve Kemp Place. According to a statement issued by the coalition, Criterion is welcome in Reading, but 01867 Neighborhood Preservation is strongly opposed to building a commercial structure in a residential neighborhood. The group is retaining legal counsel and creating a public awareness campaign.


Brenda Buote can be reached at