Controversial Sears Kit House Is Demolished

By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Jesse Baltimore house, which has been a subject of contention in the Palisades neighborhood of Northwest Washington, where it was assembled years ago from 10,000 pieces, is no more. It was demolished yesterday.

"I believe it's fully gone," said Christine Hackett, who lives across Sherier Place NW from the 1925 Sears catalogue house.

The long-empty two-story structure was called an eyesore and a landmark. The D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board declined to declare the frame building a historic landmark, and the city offered to give it to anyone with the means to move it to vacant land.

A spokesman for the city's Office of Contract and Procurement has said that it received no proposals and that a contract was let to tear down the house and remove the debris by Dec. 8. The Palisades Recreation Center Advisory Board had passed a resolution urging demolition as part of a plan to improve Palisades Park. The house partially obscured the entrance to the park.

Mary Rowse, among the preservationists who tried to save the house, issued a statement calling the demolition unconscionable. She said many people were willing to restore it on and off the site.

Hackett said she thought "a great deal of time and attention" had been paid to the matter and was glad it was resolved "in a way, frankly, I thought was in the best interest of the community."

© 2007 The Washington Post Company