What is Un-Development?

Priest house removal 2000

Dismantling the 1840 Wetherbee House in 2000

You know your Brewster Conservation Trust preserves open space.  What you might not know is that occasionally we get a chance to make open space.  Over our first 30 years, we have taken down three dwellings (and several sheds and other outbuildings) and restored the natural setting of the properties.  Call it a “re-set.”

The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts defines “undevelopment” as the removal of existing manmade structures and influence upon the land followed by  site restoration to a more natural state.  In 2001 The Compact produced a booklet highlighting a dozen case studies on the Cape and Islands, including our first in Brewster:  the take-down and resurrection elsewhere of the 1840 Captain Wetherbee House on Breakwater Road.

BCT spent a lot of time figuring out how to respond with sensitivity to the request of the late Ruth Priest that we restore her house lot to nature and a park-like atmosphere.  It took us three years to find the right persons who would preserve the historic house elsewhere in the historic district of Brewster.

In the  end, we all won.  Ms. Priest had her vision upheld.  BCT received more than an acre of restored open space.  And the home was preserved lovingly and still houses a Brewster family.

To read the full story, click here.

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