The Georgia Trust

2008 PLACES IN PERIL: ADAM-STRAIN BUILDING, DARIEN

HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT COMMUNITY LANDMARK AT RISK FROM DEVELOPERS

The Story: A rare example of historic tabby construction, the 1813 Adam-Strain Building was built as a waterfront warehouse, survived looting and fire in 1863, and was refurbished in 1870. The City of Darien recently passed a Cultural and Heritage Tourism District Overlay, a new type of protective zoning that limits the redevelopment of the site to a structure of similar size, mass and materials. Local citizens and members of the historic preservation commission are determined to save the structure.

The Threat: Like many small coastal communities, Darien has a low tax base and faces strong development pressure. After being denied a demolition permit in 2006, the owner put the building up for sale at a speculative price. Nearby dense residential development and the recent demolition of the eighteenth-century D’Antignac House have caused local concern to reach a new high.

The Solution: Raising public awareness of the development threat to the building holds promise to galvanize local and state-wide commitment to broker a reasonable resolution for this iconic structure. The first priorities are the purchase of this rare survivor and the development of a vision for its use as part of Darien’s heritage tourism program.

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