RICHMOND — The white clapboard house on Main Street that housed ministers and their families and a host of memories since 1959 is no more.

Early Monday, a demolition crew started taking down the parsonage for the Dresden Richmond United Methodist Church.

“A lot of parishioners were watching with very sad faces,” Jennifer Hinkley, owner of The Flower Spot, said. Her business is less than a block from the site of the parsonage. “There was a lot of dust, and then it was done.”

Monday’s demolition comes nearly a year after church members first approached town officials about tearing down the parsonage. The home, with standing water in the dirt-floored cellar, was riddled with mold. Even though no minister had been living in the parsonage recently, one of the parsonage’s last residents, the Rev. Margo Carmines, had submitted a letter with the demolition application citing respiratory illnesses she suffered while living there.

“You could see without pulling it all apart that mold had begun to seep into the upstairs walls,” Richmond Code Enforcement Officer James Valley said.

Sarah Lancaster, a long-time member of the church, said she was part of the group that bought the house for the parsonage in 1959 and she picked out the wallpaper.

“It’s an old, old house,” Lancaster said. “It was built in the 1800s.”

The house was conveniently located next to the church, and its back yard shared a property line with the church, which is around the corner at 121 Pleasant St.

Lancaster said church members looked into mold abatement, but that was likely to be very expensive. The congregation also looked into giving the house away to someone interested in moving it, but that didn’t attract any interest.

There are no plans to replace the parsonage. Lancaster said the church is now served part-time by a minister who lives in Winthrop.

Although she’s not a member of the church, Hinkley said she’ll miss the building, which held a lot of memories. She and her mother, Chickie Tuttle, said when the Hixon family lived there, the parsonage was warm and comfortable with a lot of activity. Herb Hixon was both a minister and a school teacher.

Janette Sweem, who is a member, said she had never been in the house while it was occupied. She had helped clean the parsonage between ministers, and she had last been in the house on Sunday.

“It’s sad to see it go,” she said.

By Monday afternoon, the rubble left from demolition was waiting to be trucked away.

The property will remain with the Dresden Richmond Methodist Church. Under the church’s bylaws, the land cannot be sold.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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