Letter to the Editor: Questioning the Historic Importance of  139 The Great Road

~ Submitted by Ken Larson

What would Jonathan Bacon do?

First, I must say I respect the mission of the Historic District Commission as set forth in its charter. It serves an important role in Bedford. I read with earnest interest the Citizen piece about Jonathan Bacon and his estate and carriage house. Although the article concentrated on Mr. Bacon’s admirable character and significant accomplishments as well as his important contributions to Bedford, the article didn’t make much of a case for the preservation of the building at 139 the Great Road. I’m aware of the contributions of the Bacon family to the town and proud to say that I live in a house that was once occupied by Abigail Bacon, one of the Bacon descendants.

This morning I drove into the driveway and parking lot of the building at 139. I noticed that more than half of the footprint of the building is relatively modern construction. I could imagine that the front part of the building was once, before much alteration, a carriage house. I have a good imagination. I think there is little about the current structure that maintains a semblance of its original character. To proclaim its historic significance based on what it once was is a stretch.  Defending the existence of the building at 139 The Great Road reminds me of the fellow who proudly showed me his great grandfather’s axe. The axe he had used to shape his family homestead so many years ago. The fellow’s ancestors had only replaced the handle twice and the head once…

Jonathan Bacon was a great man. I think he may chuckle at our ruminations about the remains of his carriage house in light of his dedication to improving the Town of Bedford. Having reviewed the many alternate suggestions, I think he might agree there is no suitable alternative to locating our new fire station at 139 Great Road.

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