Seven to Save 2019: Chesterfield's Marsh House


Chesterfield is a predominantly agricultural town, with a distinct set of buildings on the common, mostly built of locally-quarried stone. But there’s also this Carpenter Gothic Cottage built in 1850 by the Marsh Family. The house, with its polychromatic slate roof, deep roof eaves, bargeboard, and wrap-around porch is practically out of a 19th century pattern book.

From the late 1970s until 2007, the house served as the town offices. A few years ago, a group in town tried to find a creative way to get new life in it. They put up a big sign on the front that read, “Own this building - $1.00!” The deal came with strings to ensure the building would be properly preserved. This got a lot of attention, but the sole response unfortunately fell through. Community surveys show that people in town want a gathering space – our village has a post office, school, and library, but there’s no place to get sandwiches or coffee.  

“And so we’re hoping that this designation ignites us to further try and save this treasure and add vibrancy to our village. We are looking at continuing to sell it, or lease it to a private or nonprofit entity that would restore and repurpose it. The alternative is the recurring vote at town meeting to spend $30,000 to demolish it,” says Jeff Scott and Barbara Girs, who represented the house at the Seven to Save event.