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editorial

Preservation alongside development in Savin Hill

The Kehew -Wright house was built in 1871.Boston Landmarks Commission/patrick

Perched atop a gentle slope, the run-down house at 24 Grampian Way in Savin Hill might not look like much. But the 1871 structure forms an intriguing link to the city’s past, and the Boston Landmarks Commission should approve a report recommending preservation of the building at its meeting Tuesday evening.

The house, which is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of the oldest in Savin Hill. Known as the Kehew-Wright house, it’s a surviving example of Stick-style architecture, a brief fad in 19th-century New England. But much of the house’s significance comes from its past residents, including George Wright, a Hall of Fame baseball player who was the founding shortstop on the city’s first professional team, the Boston Red Stockings (now the Atlanta Braves).

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Granting landmark status to a property could make the house harder to sell. Not surprisingly, the owners have strongly opposed the designation. But protecting one of Boston’s signature assets — its textured, historic neighborhoods — serves the broader public interest. There should be room for a compromise that protects the 1871 structure from demolition, while allowing future development on the rest of the lot. In the long run, fostering historic preservation alongside economic development is a healthy way to support both.