The Dakin House, 355 South Pleasant Street (click to enlarge)
If Amherst College wants to see some return on investment for their $4.3 million purchase twelve years ago of the now derelict Dakin estate they should turn it into a pop up haunted house for this coming Halloween.
Dakin estate on South Pleasant Street still looks good from the air
Of course the main reason for the expensive purchase was to keep the property -- located contiguous to the college owned Amherst Golf Course -- from being turned into a housing development.
Since that does not qualify as an "educational use" the town assessor put the property back on the taxrolls in 2006 but was nice enough to keep the valuation the same as before the college spent so much as a "motivated buyer".
The only use the structure now sees is practice for Amherst Fire Department
Would also make a great location for a Hollywood slasher movie
The 1830 estate was owned by Arthur Hazard Dakin, Jr. brother of Winthrop Saltonstall Dakin ("Toby") who were both, like their Dad, prominent attorneys. Arthur Hazard Dakin Sr. had graduated from Amherst College in 1884.
After Arthur Dakin Jr. died in 2001 the bank who administered his trust approached Amherst College to buy his 37 acre estate. They could not come to terms (although I hear the asking price was around $1 million) and the property went out to auction, where the College ended up paying four times more for the property.
Overgrown outdoor patio
Lawns, meadows and beautiful mature trees stand in stark contrast to the buildings on the spacious grounds
And has done nothing with it since, other than mowing the extensive lawns.
Dakin House, 650 East Pleasant Street
The other Dakin estate, donated to UMass after the death of Janet Dakin, who outlived her husband Winthrop by a dozen years, is currently in use by the UMass "Renaissance Center" for academic research.
Main house and Carriage House are still in use
The Dakin House, carriage house and garage were all built in 1949, but according to a 2009 building survey for the Massachusetts Historical Commission it was "recommended not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places."
Dakin Carriage House
But at least UMass keeps them habitable. Well, mostly.
Dakin garage going to waste