Petition to Protect the Historic Hale and Hooker Hotels

Petition to Protect the Historic Hale and Hooker Hotels

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Petition to Save the Hale and Hooker Hotels started this petition to Jean de Smet and

Problem
The undersigned residents of CT petition the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the CT Attorney General to prevent the unreasonable destruction of historic structures at 819 and 833 Main Street, Willimantic, CT, in accordance with the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act. Built in 1886 and 1920, both buildings are listed as Contributing in the Willimantic Main Street National Register District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Solution
The intention is to promote the rehabilitation of these two buildings rather than the removal for a more modern complex and to obtain state support and possible grants to do so.

Windham has a long history of vacant lots resulting from demolition. Yet, Historic Downtown Willimantic remains an attractive commercial center to residents, tourists and surrounding towns. We support the rehabilitation and reuse of these quality buildings by any developer in order “to promote the protection, preservation, and enhancement of historic structures” as recommended in the 2017 Plan of Conservation and Development and many other Windham Plans.

“As Willimantic became a busy trade center, demands were created for hotel and cultural facilities. In 1886 S.G. Hooker opened the Hooker Hotel. It provided 100 fashionable hotel rooms and was a well-known stopping point for travelers [sic]…A community fund-raising effort in the 1920's resulted in the construction of the Nathan Hale Hotel to meet a still growing demand for hotel rooms.” These large and historic buildings are critical to keeping the Historic District intact and our story, our history, alive.

Personal story
Jean de Smet is a professional electrician and very well acquainted with construction issues. She has served as First Selectman of Windham and currently is involved with the very popular 3rd Thursday Street Festivals. Her concern as well as the concern of other petitioners is the preservation of the Historic district, it's buildings and the overall architectural character of Downtown Willimantic.

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At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!