Best Of 2017

Best historic-preservation fight won by an all-powerful local family with political connections: Dennison Hotel

Best historic-preservation fight won by an all-powerful local family with political connections

For a moment last year, it seemed as though preservationists would prevail in the fight against the destruction of downtown’s Dennison Hotel, a 125-year-old building designed by the firm of noted architect Samuel Hannaford and sitting in the Main Street Historic District. Last summer, the city’s Historic Conservation Board nixed a demolition request by Columbia REI, the company controlled by powerful auto dealer magnates the Joseph family that owns the building. But the elation of preservationists was short lived: Months later, the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals reversed the conservation board’s ruling, clearing the way for the city to issue a demolition permit.