March 3, 2010 | By Ethan Shorey, Valley Breeze Staff Writer
Its valuable artifacts mostly removed, the former Weeden Manor on Quality Hill is going up for sale. A price had not yet been set as of Tuesday for a Walnut Street mansion valued by the city at more than $1 million, but a representative for the long-time assisted living center said a real estate company has been chosen and the sale process will begin this week.
“The (plan) is to offer it on the open market,” said the Rev. George Peters, pastor of the Pawtucket Congregational Church, now meeting in Lincoln, that owns the building. “It will be listed shortly.”
A month after The Valley Breeze reported that Weeden Manor would be closing as of Feb. 2, many of the artifacts and antiques that filled the historic structure have now been removed. The expensive Tiffany stained glass window that once held a prominent place on the left side of the building is now up for sale at a local antique dealer. A professional appraiser has placed values on the window and many of the other art pieces and antiques previously contained within the manor’s walls, according to Peters.
Some residents have expressed concern in recent days at what they see as the dismantling of the historic structure’s interior, most notably the window. Buildings like Weeden Manor and the Read-Ott mansion up the street should be preserved as much as possible, say some in the city, or one day historic Pawtucket as it is will be lost.
“Quality Hill residents take pride in their historic neighborhood, as evidenced by its beautiful turn-of-the-century homes,” said city resident Patricia Zacks in a letter to the editor in this week’s edition of The Breeze. “I would think that the church or any other independent institution does have an implied civic and historic responsibility to the city.”
When told of the comment, Peters countered by saying that his ultimate goal is to do what is best for the financial future of the Pawtucket Congregational Church, which merged with and moved to the Sayles Memorial Congregational Church in Lincoln this year. He indicated that church leaders will not seek to impose any restrictions as part of a sales agreement beyond those a buyer would be subjected to by the city under a religious land use “religous mdl. 94” designation, or as a historic building.
“The reason (Weeden Manor) closed is because it was no longer serving the community,” said Peters.
As for the Tiffany window, he said, it was “too valuable an asset to leave” for the next owner of the Weeden Manor building. The window has been replaced by another window in the same style as the building’s other 100 windows, according to Peters.
First opened in 1905 as the Elizabeth Higginson Weeden Home for Indigent and Infirmed Females, the Weeden Manor housed hundreds of the area’s senior citizens over the years.
Quality Hill residents would certainly take interest in what happens next to the stately mansion located on the old Darius Goff homestead, as many have worked to rehabilitate beautiful historic homes of their own in the neighborhood. Joe Asermely, who lives across the street, and other members of the Quality Hill Neighborhood Association have expressed concern about what might be next for both Weeden Manor and the Read-Ott mansion.
After 105 years serving the community, Weeden Manor and its 12-member staff officially concluded an around-the-clock work schedule on Monday, Feb. 2.
Valued at $1.03 million today, the former Darius Goff House was built in 1890, according to a Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission survey. City tax records show that it was built in 1920.
With a maximum capacity of 14 residents, keeping Weeden Manor afloat over the years had been difficult, according to its former director, Sharon Burrill, but the task became nearly impossible when the number of tenants there decreased to just five last year.
Though there were few major reinvestment initiatives undertaken over the years, when projects like the replacement five years ago of all 101 windows were needed, it placed an added strain on already tight finances, Burrill told The Breeze prior to the assisted living center closing its doors.
peter gailitis Aug 17 2015 This is more of a question than an anecdote. in the beginning of the article it is stated that the Tiffany window was for sale at a local antique shop. then the appended comment states that it sold at Christies nyc for 960k. as Christies is not in pawtucket, did the dealer consign it to the auction house? or was it snapped up from the church inexpensively and then sold on for a major windfall for the new owner? I would hope the church was the consignor at least, but the part about “local antique shop” makes me wonder. There has to be way more to this story. This should have made the papers.
Anonymous Jan 17 2011 This Tiffany window was sold at a Christies Dec.15th, 2010 at auction, lot #252, Tiffany “peony” leaded glass window, and sold for $962,500... having an antique dealer appraise the items and issue a value... I’m sure they were able to identify the incredible value of this piece of art... and as a result of the sale of this one item... the money could have been used to finance and continue The Weeden Manor... were Reverend Peters or the Pawtucket Congregational Church not made aware of the true value of these precious items??? And if so why wasn’t the money used appropriately to maintain the manor?? Even if the window sold for a fraction of its value that still would have paid for 101 new windows plus... if keeping the Weeden Manor afloat was a problem why didn’t some of these items get deacquisitioned over time... considering that Rev. Peters concern was “that his ultimate goal is to do what is best for the financial future of the Pawtucket Congregational Church.” I have to believe nearly a million dollars would have paid for all repairs and operational costs for some time. Was the sale of these items handled with prudence... did the money from the sale of this window go to the Church or in a private antique dealers pocket??? Am I missing something here??
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