There are thousands of historic properties in Fall River, but many are under constant threat – either from demolition or the degradation of time.
Because we feel the city should be a leader in protecting its historic resources, the Preservation Society of Fall River has examined municipal-owned buildings and determined the most endangered properties for 2019.
Most of these properties were on the PSFR’s most recent endangered property list in 2015, which represents both a disappointment in the lack of progress and preservation, but also an opportunity to still save these pieces of Fall River history to ensure they are reused for the future.
5.) The Armory, c. 1895 (72 Bank Street)
The Armory was built with granite in a Romanesque Revival style resembling a medieval fortress. For several years the Armory was home to “Fall River Re-Creation,” but the nonprofit left in 2015 after years of neglect caused structural concerns. Emergency Community Preservation Act funds were used to help pay for repairs to the roof and stabilize the chimney. For now, the city is using the building for storage as no solid plan for the future use and maintenance of this 19th century icon has emerged.
4.) 229 Highland Avenue, c. 1899
This historic Queen Anne-style house has been owned by the Fall River Housing Authority since 1985, but has remained empty for several years. Because of such prolonged vacancy, the property is at risk of demolition through neglect and decay.
3.) Central Fire Station, c. 1920 (165 Bedford Street)
The Central Fire Station is one of the city’s oldest fire stations still in use, but has continued to deteriorate over the years due to a lack of repairs and upgrades. A Community Preservation Act grant was approved four years ago for the city to replace the building’s roof, which would be a vital first step in preserving the building. However, with no roof replacement four years later, the building’s future is still uncertain as it remains at a turning point until the city decides whether to invest in well-deserved upgrades or build a new station.
2.) Old Police Station, c. 1915 (158 Bedford Street)
The neo-classical, yellow brick property has been vacant since the new police station was built over a decade ago. The city re-took ownership for non-payment of taxes after the previous owner let the building lay fallow for years. A car accident recently destroyed one of the columns at the front entrance, but the city is pursuing an insurance claim to replace it. The latest city auction for the property again received no bids. Without a developer or a plan to rehabilitate it, the building is a clear example of demolition through neglect.
1.) King Philip Mills, c. 1871-1892 (Kilburn Street)
Although the demolition of King Philip Mills already began last year, a glimmer of hope remains for the building as long as it’s still standing. Demolition was hampered by unexpected asbestos abatement and a lawsuit against the city from the previous bidder could further delay matters. A Community Preservation Act-funded feasibility study in 2017 established avenues for reuse of the nearly 1-million square foot granite complex if it can be saved.