UPDATE: Adds video and more comments from planning board and historic preservation commission.
There was no last-minute savior, no 11th-hour pardon from the governor.
Morristown’s House with Nine Lives, at 10 DeHart St., bit the dust on Monday.
Its owners, the Walshes, had offered it to anyone who would take it off their hands. They need the space for a restaurant they have been planning for years.
Morristown realtor Kathryn “Kit” Godby obtained approvals last year to move the house to “Little Dublin,” on nearby Catherine Lane, for conversion to apartments. But zoning requirements proved too big a hurdle, and she thought better of it.
The spacious three-story, gambrel-roofed structure had a full life, spanning 122 years. It variously served as a private residence, an office building, a salon and a deli.
On a drizzly day in 2002 it was moved from Pine Street, to accommodate an expansion of the Community Theatre, now known as the Mayo Performing Arts Center.
The house had sat vacant for the last few years after a deli closed. Last year, an attorney for the Walshes told the town planning board the house would be moved.
Some planning board members wanted to hold him to that as a condition of site plan approval.
“I think all of us on the Planning Board wanted to see the house preserved in another location, and maybe we should have pushed harder to make that happen. I think I’m more concerned with what happens when the new bar opens across the street from a 59-unit apartment building,” said board member Joe Kane.
“We encourage the integration of historic artifacts into the quality of community life. That is enlightenment. We deplore a society that elevates personal profit above enlightenment. That degrades our quality of life,” said Marion Harris of the Morristown Historic Preservation Commission.
The planning board ultimately voted to allow demolition to proceed.
“It is always a shame to lose some older buildings in town,” said board Chairman Joe Stanley. “The planning board… tried to preserve it, but it proved not to be viable.”
Stefan Armington, the town council liaison to the board, said he was not sad about that.
“I don’t really know what the big deal was,” he said.
Video: R.I.P., old house. Video by Pamela Babcock, June 11, 2018: