The owners of the house at 21 Lia Fail Way have applied for and received a permit for demolition from the building department at Greenwich Town Hall. The house is owned by Kevin R Green of Jupiter, Florida, who purchased it from from Mark and Gwen O’Donnell for $1,366,000 on Aug 2, 2016.
The house was built in from 1941-44 by Horton O’Neil for his father. Houses built in 1940 and after don’t have to be posted with a demolition sign. Houses built before 1940 require a 45 day wait period. An additional 45 day wait is triggered if a demolition is opposed on historic grounds. However, that only applies to Greenwich homes built before 1940.
The O’Neil house, according to the CT Historical Commission was built mostly with recycled materials, including ashlar granite of the foundation and chimneys salvaged from a demolished mansion in Rye NY. The exterior’s vertical boards came from a tobacco barn in the Connecticut River Valley. The Shingle-style mansion of sugar magnate Henry O. Havemeyer, located a mile to the east in Old Greenwich, was the source of a Dutch door at the front entrance and chamfered beams in the living room. The front porch was constructed from salvaged portions of the tack room of the Havemeyer carriage house.
“Horton O’Neil had a real sense of history and appreciation of stone,” said Renee Seblatnigg, a neighbor in Lia Fail Way. In fact, she said, she’d have liked to see the existing house saved.
On May 9, six columns – all that remained of the historic O’Neil outdoor ampitheater on the 21 Lia Fail Way property – were loaded onto a massive flat bed and taken one at a time to a Greenwich Dept of Public Works shed on Indian Field Rd by exit 4 of I95.
The giant columns will eventually be put to use by the Town of Greenwich, though plans have yet to be formulated.
Demolition permits are valid for six months.
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