HAVERHILL (CBS) — Members of the Haverhill Historical Commission are praying that a historic church on Main Street will not be torn down.

There has been a meeting house or church on the corner since 1640.

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“This is one of last remaining historic building the city that has with architectural significance,” Richard Raiche of the historical commission said.

The church was built as an Unitarian church in 1847 after the previous church burned down. Now the building belongs to St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church.

The owners want to sell it to a developer who plans to turn this 163-year-old historic sanctuary into a Burger King, which doesn’t sit well for neighbor Leslie Bordem.

Her two-story historic Victorian style home is just a few feet away. 

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“I absolutely don’t want to live next to BK. I don’t want the smell or hear the sites and sounds. I mean, it’s quiet, it’s peaceful,” Bordem said.

Church officials say the building needs about $1.5 million in repairs and they need to sell it in order to pay for their new church. But those opposed to it becoming a Burger King say it would change the character of downtown Haverhill.

“I think they have a right to do it. I just wish they wouldn’t do it. Once these things are torn down they are gone for ever. I wish they could find a more appropriate use,” Raiche said.

Bordem says she understand the church is under financial strain. It’s been on the market for four years with no takers. 

“I don’t begrudge that they need to move they need to move but think about what you’re leaving behind,” Boredom said.

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The church had no comment.

Paul Burton