After 13 years in one of Main Street's most notable historic buildings, Century 21 Alliance is moving its offices just down the road.
On Wednesday, the real estate agency will begin moving out of the 19th century Victorian home at the corner of Main and High streets and take up residence in an office on 70 E. Main St., across from Wells Fargo Bank.
Dolores Shields, Century 21's broker/sales manager, said the move comes as a result of significant changes that have occurred in the real estate market in the last 13 years.
"We have gone from books to web-based systems. We have gone from newspaper advertising to website advertising. We have gone from walk-ins to generations who start their search for a home on the Internet," she said. "Most importantly, we have gone from agents that worked from the office 98 percent of the time to agents that work from their home office most of the time. We feel we no longer need the 4800-square foot, three-story, 19th century building."
The building has a somewhat rich history, according to Julie Maravich, a member of the Historical Society's board of trustees.
Built in 1879, the brick Victorian was meant to "showcase the social stature of a man named John Clement Hopkins. Mr. Hopkins had bought the mill on Mill Street from John Buzby around 1859 and most of the houses on Mill for his workers," Maravich wrote in an email.
The home stayed in Hopkins' family until the 1950s. In 1957, Harvey Brown rented the property and opened a funeral home shortly after. The house has been a home for various businesses ever since (though it's rumored to be haunted by a woman in a long blue Victorian gown).
Maravich said a businessman went before the planning board in 1976 with plans to tear down the home and cut down the beech tree out front in order to pave a parking lot. More than 1,000 townspeople rallied and signed a petition and the request was ultimately revoked, she said.
The property's present owner, William Burris, CEO of Burris Construction, said he has no such plans.
"My family really likes historic assets," said Burris. "There needs to be a commitment on Main Street to these houses."
Burris will make some improvements to the property—a new paint job, fixing the exterior woodwork—while preserving its historic integrity, including the popular beech tree, which he called "one of the most magnificent trees in town."
The building's new tenant won't be much different from its present one:Long & Foster Realtors, which currently has its offices on Marter Avenue, will move into the structure soon after.