Behind the eight-foot high stuccoed wall on Eastern Point Boulevard, the historic Red Roof — an eccentric dowager of a waterfront Eastern Point home to A. Piatt Andrew, perhaps Gloucester’s least-known influential citizen of the world — has bitten the dust.
It was on Dec. 14 that Red Roof was demolished, 86 years after the bachelor Andrew — APA to his friends — died at the age of 63 in the garden room of his turn-of-the-last-century creation that featured secret passages (there was a hidden Prohibition wet bar disguised as a section of the great library), art, and hosted bacchanalian parties by and for the American aristocracy, including Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he was Professor Andrew’s economics student at Harvard.
The .77 acres of property acquired by Andrew for $2,500 in 1901 was sold by his descendants for $1.6 million in 2011 to a couple from Greenwich, Conn.
Attorney Joseph P. Hadley, an attorney in New York City, and his wife, Anne Marie Reilly, will build a new home in the same shingle style, on the same footprint. Work is already in the earliest stages, directly adjacent to the south of Beauport, the more renowned kindred cottage which is on the National Registry of Historic Places, according to Mark Pellegrini, the site supervisor for the builder, Carpenter and MacNeille of Essex.
“We harbor no ill will toward the new owners, who encountered prohibitive rehabilitation challenges,” said Roger Fisk, whose wife Corinna was one of Andrew’s descendants who co-owned and co-sold the property to Hadley and Reilly.
“Given the significance of APA and his Red Roof to Gloucester,” Hadley said in an email, “it was a wrenching decision to have to do as much as it turned out we have had to, but we are looking forward to a new Red Roof rising up to honor the old, and have taken a page from the original builder’s book by saving many of the original elements to incorporate into the new.”