Bronson Pinchot pays a visit to Kittredge House
Fan conventions like the one held over the weekend at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel & Conference Center make Bronson Pinchot feel a little sad. The actor best remembered for playing Balki on “Perfect Strangers” (or perhaps Serge in “Beverly Hills Cop”) says the experience of meeting his devoted following in a too-bright hotel ballroom “is not psychically enhancing.” What does that mean? “You sit there like the last muffin and people go by and decide if they want you,” he said. “I thought of self-euthanizing a few times.” But Pinchot’s trip to Boston wasn’t a complete bust. Before heading out of town Monday, he took a tour of Kittredge House, a 19th-century mansion in Roxbury’s Highland Park neighborhood that is being renovated into apartments by Historic Boston Inc. To say Pinchot is passionate about restoring Greek Revival buildings would be an understatement. “If someone told me Marty Scorsese wanted me to read a script for him in New York, I’d ask if he’s going to put me up in a hotel,” the actor said. “But if someone told me there’s a decaying Greek Revival house in Boston, I’d say how many hot coals can I walk over to get to it.” (A popular architectural style in North America in the early 1800s, Greek Revival buildings typically have square or rounded columns, capitals, cornices, and large rooms with high ceilings.) Since 1978, when he saw his first Greek Revival structure in the woods of Vermont, Pinchot has restored several such dwellings, including that one in northeastern Pennsylvania that is his primary residence. So what does he think of Kittredge House? “It’s a superb example, a preeminent example. It was very far gone, but not remotely unsaveable,” he said. “I’ve offered myself to Historic Boston as their poster boy because, really, in a place like Boston that’s so rich in history, sometimes things get taken for granted. So I’m giving them a little shot in the arm.” Built by furniture maker Alvah Kittredge in 1836, Kittredge House was abandoned for more than 20 years before being taken by eminent domain by the Boston Redevelopment Authority.