When they bought a fixer-upper more than 30 years ago, couple embarked on a journey of discovery



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This is the second of three stories in a series examining residential historic district in downtown Greenfield. Thursday's story was an overview of the district. Today and Saturday, stories will profile special homes in the district and the people who own them.

 

GREENFIELD — Ken and Joyce Benbow always wanted an old home with character.

So when they moved their young family to Greenfield in 1978, they found a gem – at least in their eyes.

A 1½-story home on the corner of Grant and East streets had been divided into six tiny apartments. The lot was overgrown with shrubs and weeds, and the Benbows had to put on their rose-colored glasses to see the potential of bringing the home back to its former glory.

“There’s no way you can make this back into a dwelling house,” one elderly tenant told them, hands on her hips.

That, Joyce said, was the challenge she was looking for.

The couple became enchanted with the idea of restoring a historic property, and decided to take a chance. After years of renovations and a discovery of the building’s significance to Greenfield’s past, the Benbows have been in love with the 1869 Italianate-style home ever since.

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