Letter: Time to get serious about Lewis house


To the editor,

A well-worded article about the Tracy Lewis house appeared in the local news section of the Sept. 19 edition of the Republican-American newspaper. The article included two photos of the house, one outside and one inside. I was shocked to read that our fire department was allowed to cut a hole in the third-floor ceiling as part of a training exercise. Our fire department has done many wonderful things for our town but this was not their shining hour.

The Tracy Lewis house, more than 100 years old, was built as the residence of Tracy Lewis, president of the Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company using the best of construction materials available at that time. The three-story mansion has many unique features and is listed in the State Register of Historic Places. It was a lived-in residence at the time it was purchased by the town in 2008 and in good repair. Isn’t there a state law or regulation prohibiting the willful destruction of registered historic structures?

Although purchased with the intention of creating a library and community center, this was never done. The structure has been allowed to sit unused for nine years with no one able to come up with a suitable plan for future use. Our historical society has shown no interest in leading a campaign to make this residence a centerpiece for the appreciation and understanding of our colorful industrial past.

Shortly after the town purchased the property, Beacon Falls was visited by a grandson of Tracy Lewis. This grandson traveled from California to see for himself the ancestral home that he had never before visited. He was impressed and very pleased that the Tracy Lewis house was now publicly owned and would serve a useful purpose for years to come. He gave a $500 check to the historical society.

Let’s get serious. Enough is enough. Our taxpayers are complaining about high taxes. Essential services and the purchase of new equipment has been voted down. The construction of a $6 million community center on the Tracy Lewis property is never going to take place. The best course of action is to sell the Tracy Lewis property, return it to private use where it will again produce tax dollars. Return the sale money to the town checking account for the purchase of essentials as well as to give the taxpayers a break.

James Woodward

Beacon Falls