† 531 Commercial Street

This ordinary house in the Historic District stirred up an extraordinary amount of recrimination in 2006 when it was torn down by its new owners, Richard L. Bready, chairman and chief executive of Nortek Inc., and his wife, Cheryl. The drama followed a predictable arc: the Breadys were permitted to “replace the wood shingle roofing, flashing and exterior trim; and add new windows and doors, wood siding and deck.” (Pru Sowers, “Historic House Razed,” The Banner, 11 January 2007.) Glenn A. Parker, the Rhode Island contractor on the job, said “once workers began to open up the walls, the decay and foundation deterioration made it unsafe to use the existing structure.” Parker asserted that he’d been given permission to demolish the old building orally by Doug Taylor, the building commissioner, and had submitted revised drawings showing clearly the plan to replace it with a new 531 Commercial. Taylor countered that he would never have done such a thing and that he hadn’t seen the revised drawings until it was too late and the old house was gone.

Mary Oliver and Molly Malone Cook were listed here in 1995 and 2000. So was Tabitha Vevers, in 1995.

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