By Jennifer Piliero
Shortly after 8am Saturday morning, the demolition of the two family home at 10-12 Maple St. began. Over the course of the following three hours, neighbors and Bedford residents gathered on the sidewalk and street corners to witness the dismantling of a structure that had incorporated elements dating back to the late 1700s.
As a former resident of 10 Maple St., I had debated whether I wished to bear witness to the demolition of a home that welcomed me and my family to Bedford 11 years ago. In the end, I decided I wanted to be there — the least I could do after all the home meant to me, my partner and son for 6 years.
As I watched the demolition, I visited with Bill Larsen, son of former owner Joan Larsen, who resided there for over 45 years. Bill has decades of memories at 12 Maple St including helping his father build the garage, working on engines and used cars, and many Christmas Eve’s spent with extended family- up until 2013 when his mother moved.
The modest exterior belied the charm and warmth of the interior that we grew to love over time. 10 Maple St. was truly a home. The neighborhood was warm and welcoming when we first set roots in Bedford. Notes welcoming us appeared in our mailbox, neighbors stopped by to say hello. and the corner of Maple and Elm was a busy morning gathering point for children heading off to school on buses. At that corner, our puppy met a whole group of new friends and greeted children as they returned home from school at the end of the day. The backyard was large and surprisingly private for a home that was in the center of town. We have memories of countless hours on the tire swing, cookouts and gatherings with friends and family, as well as a few afternoons spent teaching our son to ride a bike as he wobbled down the bumpy stone path from the house to the garage.
The home had its quirks. As with old homes, floors were not level and winters could be chilly with some rooms having little to no insulation. Our son would often position his Radio Flyer at the threshold of the kitchen and living room, poised to push off and head down hill (yes the kitchen floor had a significant slant) through the kitchen and out the back door down the sidewalk.
By the time the sun set Saturday, the structure was gone and within the next few weeks’ construction will begin on a new 2 family house. While sad to see an old house taken down, I am confident that the new home will shape and guide the lives of the next generation of residents, as 10 Maple St. did for me and our family. It truly helped define the early childhood of our son and the developing roots of our young family.
Editor’s Note: The demolition created three new, albeit temporary, views in Bedford center