Friday, March 23, 2018

42 Hoxsey Update: Wanda Bubriski reports receipt of letter from Williams; historic commission meets April 12

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: W.A. Bubriski <>
Date: Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 1:15 AM
Subject: 42 Hoxsey Update

The College's written response to our letter arrived last Friday evening from Rita Coppola-Wallace, Executive Director, Design and Construction, at Williams (see attached, Response).  It's safe to say that many if not all of us who signed the Friends letter, understand the College's academic and residential needs.  What is striking about the Williams letter is the lack of any reference to the historic preservation needs of the town.  We are working on talking points for preserving the house--which is equally an argument on behalf of the town and saving its own historic presence. 


Meanwhile, the county paper, The Berkshire Eagle, hopped on the unfolding story, and published this story in Monday's edition:,534912

HEARING – your continued involvement
The town's Historical Commission will vote whether to allow or prevent the demolition of 42 Hoxsey at it's re-scheduled hearing on Thursday, April 12 at 3PM in Town Hall, 31 North Street.  Bev and I will attend. If you are in the area, stop by the Hearing--numbers matter.  (After the hearing--regardless of the outcome-- join us next door at the Williams Inn... at the bar.) 
​ ​
Seriously, we NEED LETTERS of support-- from Williams graduates, former residents, preservation specialists, oral historians, architectural historians, contractors, architects, planners, and civil engineers.  If you, or someone you know, can write a letter, we will send you the template along with talking points.  Our goal is 101 letters by April 10 --  Please help in any way you can. 

We thank you for your continued support,

 Friends of Hoxsey Street

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Planners advancing major Williamstown rezoning to make multi-dwelling units and apartments a "matter of right"; some neighbors concerned

Posted by Bill Densmore

The Williamstown Planning Board is preparing to seek a Town Meeting vote in May that will dramatically expand the ability of developers to replace single-family residences with muti-dwelling units and apartments in a bid to make the town more attractive to people who don't want to buy a house -- and to increase the town's core-area population.

RELATED LINK: iBerkshires story on Planning Board presentation to selectmen

That's the impression being given by neighbors in the email received below.   Williamstown currently has nine zoning districts.  The proposal, if approved by town meeting voters in May, would increase that to 13.

The new districts would cover Spring Street, Southworth Street, Cole Avenue  nearby areas.   For example, a new "Village Residence 3" district would encompass Southworth Street where it abuts the Williams College campus and where the college owns multiple single-family homes. If adopted, the new rule would appear to allow the college or other owners to raze and construct six-unit apartment or condominiums along Southworth without zoning approval. 
"The proposed change in zoning removes our voices from this process entirely and encourages non-owner occupied development," Dante and Kirsta Birch, of 57 Maple St., in Williamstown, say in one email. 
The Planning Board staff has posted both the proposed language -- without any layman's explanation of what it will do -- and a map showing the new districts.  The map is reproduced above.  Zoning bylaw changes must be approved by a two-thirds majority vote at Town Meeting in May.

To get the proposed changes on the Town Warrant, the Planning Board must first majority vote to send them to the Selectmen. The selectmen will then chose whether to put the changes on the voting warrant with a positive or negative recommendation, or no recommendation.  The next Planning Board when a vote could be taken is scheduled for April 11 -- but the board can hold a meeting at any time with 48-hours public notice.

The elected Planning Board's members are Chris Kapiloff (chairman), Chris Winter, Amy Jeschawitz, Susan Puddester, Ann McCallum and alternate member Bruce McDonald.

Writer's question: To what extend are any members with connections to Williams required to abstain from voting on these changes? If they work for Williams? If they are married to a senior Williams administrator?  

Responses to this post may be emailed to for addition to this post.

From: Dante Birch <>
Subject: UPDATE: Williamstown is rezoning your neighborhood for max density
Date: March 13, 2018 at 8:04:42 AM EDT
To: "Dante Birch @ Home" <>

Yesterday's Select Board meeting:
Views of the Planning Board as presented by Chris Kapiloff:
In summary, Chris presented the board's interest in increasing the population of the town. He cited the need for additional housing, a changing demographic of professionals that do not seek single-occupancy housing until their 40's and an interest to increase the population density of Williamstown. The Planning Board believes the best way to achieve this is that like housing should be relegated to go into like neighborhoods thus 6-8 units properties into the proposed "Mill #1", 4-6 unit properties into the "Mill #2" area and so on. What was not covered or addressed was nonresident owned properties and how the new proposed regulation would cater to commercial interests. The details of the proposal is presented on the town's website.
Views of the Select Board:
Response to the presentation was measured. It was noted that the plan, as presented, was a dramatic and radical departure from the established zoning of the town, the scope of which had not been seen in recent memory. The Planning Board was also congratulated on the significant time invested and energy expended on the scope of proposed changes.
There was some concern voiced on the part of the Select Board that the changes were maybe too dramatic and wide sweeping and that the proposed regulation, as written, did not address the issues of adaptively reusing existing properties. There was also concern that the proposal possibly favored the demolishing of existing buildings and construction of new apartment structures. There was particular concern on the part of the Select Board for Southworth Street. One member of the board stated they had been approached by Fred Puddester concerning the upcoming need of the college to house incoming new-hire professors. They also stated they encourage the townspeople to make their voices heard at the next Planning Board meeting.
Moving forward:

There was a correction that the Planning Board meeting advertised on the website for tomorrow is not relevant. The next meeting for the Planning Board is scheduled for April 10th; this can, and very well may, be rescheduled for between March 13th and April 10th, with only two days' notice. The only state requirement for public notice being it is posted aside the front door of Town Hall two days prior.
The important point is that there is limited opportunity to reshape the Planning Board proposal and to hear public input. If they (the Board) decide to vote and pass the proposal at the meeting, they can then move the proposal on to the Select Board. The Select Board may or may not weigh in on the proposal before it transitions the proposal to a warrant, then onto the docket for voting at Town Meeting on May 15. The best chance to have input on the proposal would be at the next Planning Board meeting. Traditionaly, the Select Board has voted its approval up or down and that assessment has been part of the warrant article presented at town meeting. However, just one or two meetings ago, the board chair proposed that the board retain the prerogative to pass any article along without comment, and the board agreed unanimously. 

Currently there would be 2/3rds majority vote required for town approval; however, there is currently pending state legislation that might change this requirement to a 50% majority that could be passed and come into effect in time to be relevant. I ask that if anyone becomes aware of a scheduled Planning Board Meeting they please pass it along so we can make our neighbors aware. Although I may have my own personal beliefs and biases, I truly believe the priority is to have as many stakeholders at the table when such dramatic and long reaching changes are being ushered through our local government.
Dante Birch
PS- Special thanks to Kevin Kennefick and Roger Lawrence for helping recount last nights events and fact checking.

Monday, March 12, 2018

More than 100 people "sign" letter to Williams president seeking stay of execution for razing of historic Hoxsey Street house; hearing Tuesday?

The letter below asserts "misrepresentations" by the college.  Among signers are present and former members of the town's historical commission and Historical Museum.  The 42 Hoxsey Street home was the residence of the late Dagmar Bubriski, who was a well-known resident of the town. Ms. Bubriski's daughter writes that the town's Historical Commission has scheduled a meeting for tomorrow (Tuesday, March 13, 2018) in Town Hall at 3 p.m. to consider the matter.

LINK: To college's March 16 reponse.

See: Earlier Post 

Wanda Bubriski email  received Monday, March 12 
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: W.A. Bubriski <>
Date: Mon, Mar 12, 2018 at 12:34 PM
Subject: 42 Hoxsey Building - Please Confirm Receipt

TO: President Protik Majumder:
Chair of Board of Trustees, via Megan Morey, VP for College Relations:
William Barkin, Chair, Williamstown Historical Commission: 

CC: Charles Lovett:
Jim Kolesar:

(The Following Letter is also attached as a PDF document.  All signatories have "signed" via email exchange.)

Friends of 42 Hoxsey Street, Williamstown, Mass.

March 12, 2018

To the President and Trustees of Williams College, and the Williamstown Historical Commission:

We are shocked, outraged and saddened to hear of the decision of Williams College to tear down the house at 42 Hoxsey Street—a decision representing callous disregard of the town's history. Dating from 1880, it graces the 1889 Map of Williamstown; it is one of the grandest residences still standing in the heart of town.  It is a focal point of the street—a historic district.

Last April 3, when Williams College purchased the property from Wanda Bubriski, whose family had resided on the property since 1954, the College said it intended to use it for construction offices, then faculty housing.  Multiple inaccuracies and misrepresentations characterize the College's description of the condition of the house in the advertisement for its sale. Over $200,000 of improvements were made to the house between 2014 and 2016.  Among the improvements are: asbestos removed; new plumbing for two new bathrooms installed; complete house re-wired and converted to gas; new gas furnace and water heater installed; entire interior painted; new windows on second floor installed; tiger oak flooring fully sanded and stained; leaded glass windows preserved and reconstructed. These enhancements augment the 9-foot ceilings, gracious spatial arrangement, and details like the French doors and Bennington ceramic fireplace surround.   

Williams's advertisement presented a deteriorating construction—an insult to all the tradesmen and women who worked so hard on the house.  Most people who have walked through that fan-lighted front door into the capacious central hall respond with a "WOW"—including your own staff. Distortions and lack of accuracy regarding the condition is reprehensible.

To the Historical Commission: 
The house and barn at 42 Hoxsey Street embody a rare example of unaltered spatial layout, with its balloon-construction visible in the attic and its wrap around porch can be seen on the 1889 Map. The house carries cultural significance as well contributing to the fabric of the community, its history and values. From 1954 to 2011, it was the home of Dagmar Bubriski, a community leader, a columnist, a radio host, and a widow at 37 who raised a family of four while being the loudest cheerleader and staunchest defender of Williamstown historic and cultural preservation. This history deserves to be preserved.  We object to this house being torn down and its history lost.

Sadly, the College's attitude toward historic preservation is nearly non-existent. When it serves the corporate expansion needs of its ever-increasing bureaucracy, it simply plows down historic structures. (Examples include the Opera House, Harper House—and if Williams had had its way decades ago, we would have lost Van Rensselaer House— fortunately, part of it ended up in the Metropolitan Museum of Art).

We strongly urge Williams reconsider its decision to tear down and throw away this important historical building.

Respectfully signed,

Family, Friends, Historians, Architects and Admirers of 42 Hoxsey St. Building and 
Legacy of Dagmar Neuburg Bubriski

1.     Wanda Bubriski, MA '82                    
2.     Charles Bonenti, former chair and board member of Williamstown Historical Commission
3.     Elma Sanders, former board member of Williamstown Historical Commission
4.     Susan Schneski, Board of Williamstown Historical Museum, former board member of Williamstown Historical Commission
5.     Sandra Webber, former board member of Williamstown Historical Commission
6.     Andrew Dolkart, Professor of Historic Preservation, Columbia University
7.     William Doughty '55                          
8.     Richard Doughty '80                          
9.     Roger Doughty '84                             
10.  Ron Stegall '60           
11.  Paul Boyer '77
12.  Beverly Willis, FAIA                          
13.  Peter Bubriski                                     
14.  Kevin Bubriski           
15.  Nadine Neuburg Doughty (Dagmar's sister)
16.  Kathleen Neuburg Kingscott              
17.  Dr. Laura McKeon
18.  Mark Bubriski
19.  Jean Bubriski
20.  Dr. Anne Bubriski
21.  Christine Bubriski                               
22.  Katie Bubriski                                    
23.  Ryan Bubriski
24.  Tara Bubriski                                      
25.  Kate Powers
26.  Peter McKenzie
27.  Selasssie McKenzie
28.  Lionel McKenzie
29.  Paul McKenzie
30.  Rachel Park
31.  Jessica Park
32.  Prof. Katherine Park
33.  Paul Park                                            
34.  Deborah Brothers                               
35.  Andrew Failes
36.  Guy Hedreen                                      
37.  Patrick Quinn                                     

Continued, Family, Friends, Historians, Architects and Admirers of 42 Hoxsey St. Building and 
Legacy of Dagmar Neuburg Bubriski

38.  Juliet Flynt                                         
39.  Elizabeth Winthrop
40.  Karen Gundersheimer                        
41.  Werner Gundersheimer
42.  Sally Stocking
43.  Jennifer Norton Jayko
44.  Karen England
45.  Wavalene "Jinx" Tong                        
46.  Deborah Burns                                   
47.  Adrianna H. Millenaar Brown            
48.  Dr. Elizabeth Van Cleve, Director, Oral History of American Music, Yale University           
49.  Dr. Suzanne Noruschat
50.  Kevin Flicker 
51.  Norma Petersen                                  
52.  Dr. Carl Petersen                                            
53.  Dr. Erica Petersen                                          
54.  Karen A. Patterson                             
55.  Susan Dahill                           
56.  Mary O'Meara            
57.  Meg Kent
58.  Jim Youngerman                     
59.  Jane Goodrich
60.  Margaret Smithglass                
61.  Greg Carpenter
62.  Linda Cummings                     
63.  Daniel Osman
64.  Leslie Rigby                            
65.  Dr. Andrew Clark                               
66.  Mara Cherkasky, Historian & Co-Founder, Prologue                       
67.  Savannah Randall                   
68.  Kelly Ann Hill                        
69.  Dr. Nancy Smith                                
70.  Prof. Shirley McCarthy, MD               
71.  Luz Judith Shosie                   
72.  Linda Ingram                                      
73.  Paula Wells                             
74.  Marjorie Chamberlain             
75.  Abbie Hatton                         
76.  Andrea Nuciforo                    
77.  Elizabeth Smith
78.  Sam Smith
79.  Bruce Pierce                           
80.  Suzette Pierce
81.  Dr. Cynthia Hammond, Co-Director, Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, and Prof. of Art History, Concordia University, Montreal
Continued, Family, Friends, Historians, Architects and Admirers of 42 Hoxsey St. Building and 
Legacy of Dagmar Neuburg Bubriski

82.  Mike Miller, Creator & Curator, Williamstown History Email Group
83.  Philip Wagner, AIA
84.  Anneliese Vollweiler
85.  Heidi Gifford
86.  Luanne Spooner                     
87.  Lynne Mersfelder-Lewis
88.  Michael Heslip
89.  Donald Lewis                         
90.  Liz Thompson                        
91.  Susan T. Smith           
92.  Tela Zasloff                            
93.  Pete Richardson                     
94.  Sean Joyce                              
95.  Betsy Burris                
96.  Patricia Siskind                                               
97.  Jean Donati
98.  Nina Donati
99.  Donald Sanders
100. Diane Favro, Professor Emeritus, UCLA, Samuel H. Kress Professor, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery, Washington, DC
101. Sylvia Smith, FAIA, Senior Partner, FXCollaborative Architects

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Family says Williams has decided to raze Bubriski house to make room for new science center after moving deadline passes

Source: Email from Peter Bubriski, son of the late Dagmar Bubriski, who list for decades in this house on Hoxsey Street, alongside the Williams campus.

(We will post any comment from Williams that we receive):
LINK: To college's March 16 reponse.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bubriski Associates Peter <>
Date: Sat, Mar 10, 2018 at 4:43 PM
Subject: Demise of 42 Hoxsey St!
​various recipients

Sadly, Williams College has announced its intention to demolish 42 Hoxsey St. – my family’s home since 1954.  Williams listed the house for sale earlier this year—which we only learned about Feb. 20 when a former neighbor, Rachel Park, whose family still resides across the street, sent this link to the official posting: 

At 4pm yesterday, Rachel wrote us that she just got a notice from the Williamstown Historical Commission saying that on March 13th at 3:00 they will take up the request from Williams College "for predetermination to find that the single family home located at 42 Hoxsey Street is not preferably preserved."  We believe that is code for demolition.* 
*In fact, Kevin has received official word from Jim Kolesar of Williams that the plan is to tear it down when they demolish Bronfman Science Center this summer.

Williams is tearing down Bronfman Science Center next door, which they once hailed as an architectural gem ( hold your laughter) which would last for generations. Here is the listing they posted a little while ago. We believe they never had any intention of preserving the Hoxsey St. house even though that is what the lawyers said when they purchased it… In any case, here's the listing for you to peruse, and later on we'll send a copy of a letter we're planning to send . If you would like to be one of the co-signers, we'll let you know how you can add your name. It doesn't matter if you are a Williamstown resident; you all know the house—we just want to make a statement with as many voices as possible.  

Thanks, Peter


  42 Hoxsey Street c. 1880

Williams » Facilities » Properties » HISTORIC HOUSE IN WILLIAMSTOWN, MA AVAILABLE FOR MOVING - 42 Hoxsey Street c. 1880

42 Hoxsey Street
2,995 Square Feet

The building at 42 Hoxsey Street, originally constructed in 1880 in a simple Queen Anne style, has been used primarily over the years as a single-family residence.  It was purchased in 2016 by Williams College, used as office space and is now available to be moved to your privately owned building site.  The building is being offered "as is" to prospective buyers who will remove the building from the land.
Inquiries can be made with Diana Randall, Senior Project Manager for Planning, Design and Construction, Williams College: (413) 597-4242 or at  This is a limited time offer which will expire February 28, 2018 or upon reaching an agreement with a prospective buyer (whichever comes first).
The main building is 2.5 stories in height, is wood framed with multiple additions and modifications made over time.  The building has approximately 2,955 square feet of finished interior space plus a 1,429 square foot unfinished basement, 670 square feet of unfinished attic and 563 square feet of covered porch.  There are approximately 10 main rooms including a front parlor, an elegant living room with large fire place, dining room, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and kitchen with pantry.
In addition to the main house there is also a detached two car garage with upper level storage that is available for removal.
General Condition:
The buildings are offered as is, where is, with no representation or warranty as to their condition, fitness for a particular purpose, or code compliance.  The main building was owned by the same family for many years and has many original features still intact, but could use some modernization.  Interested parties will be afforded an opportunity to do their own inspections.
The foundation is fieldstone and is has some areas where water infiltration has deteriorated the mortar.  Floors are wood-frame construction.
The building has wood clapboard siding and wood trim.  Window shutters are in need of repair.  It is unknown whether the existing building walls contain any insulation. Windows are single glazed double hung windows with storm units on the exterior.  It is very likely that there is lead paint, both on the interior and exterior.
Mechanical and Electrical Systems:
Some heating pipes in the basement may be wrapped with asbestos insulation and there may be similar conditions throughout the house. Much of the piping and many of the plumbing fixtures appear to be original. The existing heating system is a natural gas-fired boiler with steam radiator distribution. The electrical service and distribution wiring may need updating or replacement for further use.
Peter Bubriski, Principal

Peter Bubriski Associates 
Mobile: 413-441-0980

Sunday, January 07, 2018

MUSIC: Americana lyics and a melodies both delicate and fierce mark New England / NY tour of Eliza Edens (Densmore) | Jan. 9-Jan. 19

Eliza Edens (Densmore) -- above   / left                   Siri Undlin ("Humbird") -- below/right
Ballads that conjur wistful Americana and alternately delicate and fierce melodies are promised by a couple of women guitar singer-songwriters who begin a 10-venue New England / N.Y. coffeehouse tour on Tuesday in Rochester, N.Y. -- then head east to Schenectady, Burlington, Vt., Cambridge, Mass., Nashua, N.H., Portland, Maine, Williamstown, Mass., Brooklyn, N.Y., and two Philadelphia venues.

The duo are Eliza Edens ​ Densmore, who performs as Eliza Edens,​ and ​​Siri ​Undlin​ , who performs as Humbird. Close friends ​ at their alma mater, The Colorado College​ , they perform separately on a split billing.  Humbird, who is  based in Minneapolis, uses guitar to conjur up wistful American with hits of wintry longing.   Edens, a Williamstown-born songsearcher, crafts delicate and fierce melodies also with voice and guitar. 

Their full schedule is below
​ and is also viewable at

After traversing 5 continents and 20 countries with only a guitar and a backpack, Humbird adds powerful lyrics to a mosaic of influences like Joni Mitchell, Bon Iver and Bill Frisell.  Combining a wintry longing with the warmth of a familiar folktale, Humbird stretches traditional genres of folk and Americana to embrace the unexpected. This music invites a refreshing dissonance into the house. Humbird relased a double EP "Elsewhere" and "Where Else" in Summer 2017. Find Humbird's music at:

Edens is a native of Williamstown who now lives and performs in Philadelphia. She has played in New York City and around small Berkshire County venues and opened for Sarah Lee Guthrie in July at Hancock Shaker Village. She uses her music to observe the natural world. Combining the adventurous fingerpicking of The Tallest Man on Earth, the calm resolve of Laura Marling, and the aching pulse of Bon Iver, Eliza writes tightly wound songs with wistful lyrics and winding melodies that belong somewhere between your tumbledown front porch stoop and a hazy bar in the big city – and leave a little extra space to linger. She is a grantee of Club Passim's 2017 Iguana Music Fund and is currently crafting a debut record. Her debut EP is at

​"We're thrilled to be heading out on an inaugural tour with Humbird," says Edens. "We're
 playing spots all around New England and the Northeast. Come listen & stay warm with us -- it's guaranteed to keep y​ou​r post-holiday blues at bay."

Their schedule includes​:
​Rochester, N.Y. /​

Burlington, Vt. ​​
(Radio Bean) | Fri., Jan. 12 | 9:30 p.m.

Cambridge, Mass.​ / 
Gallery 263  | Sat., Jan. 13 | 7:30 p.m.

Nashua, N.H. ​/ 
Riverwalk Cafe & Music Bar| Sun. Jan. 14 | 8 p.m.

Portland, Maine ​/ 
Empire Live Music & Events | Tues., Jan. 16 | 7 p.m. 

Williamstown, Mass. ​/ 
​house show at ​Caretaker Farm | Wed., Jan. 17 |  7 p.m.

Brooklyn, N.Y. ​/ 
Muchmore's| Thu., Jan.  18 | 8 p.m.

Philadelphia, Penn. ​ /  
Kung Fu Necktie w/ Dirty Bird​ | Fri. Jan. 19 | 7 p.m.

Hopewell, N.J.
 Hopewell Theater | Wed., Feb. 7