SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

October 13, 2012

Long-neglected Salem property draws anger

(Continued)

The property is owned by the Federal Court Realty Trust, a Peabody family trust. The Salem News was not able to reach a trustee.

Until his death a few years ago, the late H. Berkley Peabody, a former college professor, dealt with city officials over the property. His family lived in the brick house at 6 Federal Court for years before moving out in the early 1990s, according to a 2003 interview with The Salem News.

He purchased the carriage house, once the property of 95 Federal St., in the 1960s, according to a former neighbor.

The Peabody family requested several times to raze the carriage house, but was denied by the Historical Commission, which contended it was an important historic property that should be preserved.

The family also made an unsuccessful attempt to convert it to a single-family home.

As recently as last month, the trust submitted a request to the Historical Commission to repair a door. It is not known if those repairs were made.

The main house, a three-story brick building, has eight bedrooms and two baths and was built in 1806, according to city records. The property has an assessed value of $446,500.

Ward 2 Councilor Mike Sownowski, who represents the neighborhood, said the fight is a complex legal battle among owners of a private property, neighbors and the city.

“Is it frustrating?” he said. “Yeah, it’s frustrating as hell. We wish they’d sell it to somebody who’s going to restore it.”

Neighbors share the frustration.

“The time has come for the city of Salem to take serious, aggressive, appropriate legal action to remedy this truly outrageous on-going stalemate,” their letter stated.

Tom Dalton can be reached at tdalton@salemnews.com.

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