Bill Courville’s troubles began with his gutters, drooping off his circa-1910 town house at 1801 Lamont St. NW. Bad gutters meant decaying eaves; bad eaves meant stripping off his old roof tiles. But those green clay tiles aren’t just rain protection—they’re artifacts, part of the fabric of the Mount Pleasant Historic District. And Courville says his roofer estimates that even a careful stripping job could destroy half of them—2,000 or so tiles. The tiles are a discontinued model by Ludowici Roof Tile; custom-ordered replacements are $35 a pop. So on April 26, facing a $70,000 price tag for parts alone, Courville took his troubles to the District’s Historic Preservation Review Board: Could he conserve tiles, cutting the cost to $30,000, by re-covering a roof turret with copper? No, said the board, dooming the renovation. “What do they want?” Courville asks. “A historic house that is rotting?” —Felix Gillette

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