Historic restaurant building targeted for demolition

  • Photo from 2012 Massachusetts Historical Commission application

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    Historic restaurant building targeted for demolition

    The owner of a historic but deteriorated former restaurant on Lake Avenue is applying to have the building demolished.

    The owner of the former Four Seasons Restaurant at 249 Lake Ave. is scheduled to appear in front of the Worcester Historical Commission at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the meeting agenda. The petitioner, Cherele Gentile, is requesting a Building Demolition Delay Waiver to demolish the restaurant and what remains of two lakefront cabins that were also part of the property.

    The restaurant last operated as the Four Seasons. Its website is no longer active and its Facebook page contains only two posts from December 2014. The property, valued by the city at $675,100, was sold for $650,00 in January 2016.

    Here is the historical narrative that accompanied the application for historic status in 2012:

    Undated photo from City of Worcester

    "The Town Club, owned by Victor and Althea Richardson, first appears in the Worcester City directory in 1938. The restaurant also is shown on a 1944 Sanborn Fire Insurance map. The footprint of the building shown on the 1944 map appears to be identical to the footprint of the existing building. The Town Club was one of several restaurants, nightclubs, and boat clubs along the westerly shore of Lake Quinsigamond in the 1930s. The Oaks Dancing Hall was located on Lake Avenue to the south of the Town Club and the Quinsigamond Boat Club was located to the north. Other nearby nightclubs on Lake Avenue in the 1930s included the Engelbert Club and the Kalumet Club just to the north of the Quinsigamond Boat Club. The Town Club building is the only one of these venues that appears to still exist.

    "The Town Club began operating as the Town Crest Restaurant c. 1950, apparently under the same family ownership. That business last appears in the Worcester City Directory in 1968. The restaurant began operating under new ownership as the Four Seasons c. 1972, at which time the alterations to the front elevation of the building likely were made. The business continues to operate as the Four Seasons Restaurant in 2012.

    "The footprints of the two lakeside cottages are shown at the rear of the Town Club on the 1944 Sanborn map, with the cottage to the north marked as #247 and the cottage to the south marked as #251. It is unknown if the cottages were yearly rentals or seasonal rentals, although the Worcester City directories indicate a changing list of occupants for both addresses throughout the 1940s and 1950s. The cottages are presently vacant and open to the weather, and are in severely deteriorated condition. The front portion of #247 has collapsed."

    2018 Google photo

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