Clipperways, is an 8,000-square-foot home built at Prouts Neck in 1898,
is expected to be torn down this fall.
Clipperways was listed for sale in 2010 for $5.5 million with Sotheby's. Robert Gould of South Hamilton, Mass., bought the property for $4 million last year. He plans to replace Clipperways with a home that is consistent with the architecture of the original. Demolition and building permits were approved by the town this month.
"There's so much history there," said Porcaro, of Snowmass Village, Colo. "I knew that I was most likely never going back to Prouts Neck after we sold the house, but the idea that it would be there for future generations to enjoy, I liked that."
Porcaro said she is not upset with Gould, whose family owns other properties at Prouts Neck and whom she has known for many years. She said Gould intended to preserve the house and make renovations, but changed his plan after investigating the structure. According to the permit applications, asbestos was detected in various spots within the home.
"I know it was very painful for them, too, because he did say that it caused them a lot of heartache," Porcaro said. "With change comes sadness. We made a decision to sell, so we did, and we can't control what happens to it, that is not our right."
It's the second recent tear-down project on the southern cliffside of Prouts Neck, a gated community at the end of Black Point Road. The house next door to Clipperways was demolished, along with a World War II military observation tower, in 2004.
Clipperways was built in 1898 by Dr. F.B. Stevenson of Portsmouth, N.H., Porcaro said. The next owner was James Shaw, and in 1935 the property was sold to Dr. George Huntington and his wife, Elizabeth Dodge Huntington.
Huntington was a minister, a professor and vice president of Robert College, an independent private high school in Istanbul, Turkey. Visitors from around the world came to Prouts Neck for summer visits, Porcaro said. Dr. Huntington had been paralyzed by polio, and he installed an Otis elevator at Clipperways to access the second floor. He also had the thresholds sloped, to allow for wheelchairs.
After Dr. Huntington died, Elizabeth married Dumont Clarke. In the 1960s, after Clarke's death, she sold the house to George Collier, who owned the nearby Black Point Inn. Collier sold Clipperways to Porcaro's parents, Dr. Arthur Cairns and Marlee Cairns, in 1974.
Vicki Halmos, who lives two doors down from Clipperways on Homer Winslow Road, heard just this week about Gould's plan. She said it's always hard to watch older homes torn down, especially in a place like Prouts Neck, where owners generally value the unique histories of their homes. Halmos' house, The Barnacle, is more than 100 years old, and she is the third owner. A former owner, an Episcopal minister, left a traveling trunk and a Bible in the home, and Halmos takes care of them.