By Eric Goldscheider
Yes, that's an actual house clogging up traffic on College Street. In the spring, trailers carried two houses, including the Tuttle Farm house (shown here), from the Amherst campus to new locations.
If houses could talk, what would the Tuttle Farm house have to say about being moved off a high meadow on the Amherst campus? On a bright April morning, the 200-ton structure, split in two pieces, made its way down the slope over which it once presided, the cargo on two flatbed trailers fitted with steel I-beams. True, the view from on high, of the Pelham hills to the east, was splendid. But for many years, the house, the site of occasional vandalism, had a forlorn look about it. Now the property of two local entrepreneurs, it is destined to again be a lived-in home.
The Tuttle Farm house is now on Gray Street, near the railroad station to the east and the Emily Dickinson Homestead to the west. It is on the market and in the process of being renovated. Among the other three houses on the lot is a second new transplant from the college: the Potvine house, formerly adjacent to the Lord Jeffery Inn, was moved to make way for the hotel’s upcoming expansion.
Amherst sold the houses for $10 each and helped pay the moving costs, as a welcome alternative to tearing them down, says Aaron Hayden, capital projects manager at the college. “Demolition is a much more arduous task in today’s world of reducing waste and dealing with toxins,” he says. “It’s not just a matter of tossing it into a Dumpster and hauling it away.” As part of the college’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, he says, it only made sense to help put the houses back into use.
Ned Nedeau, Amherst’s cross country and track and field coach, was the last resident of Potvine; he lived there until about seven years ago and remembers sitting on the roof of the porch and listening to wedding bands play at the inn. Built in the 1820s, Potvine was one of the original buildings in the town center. It was moved once before, in 1869, to make room for what is now the town common.
Photo by Samuel Masinter '04