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Monday, September 21, 2015

It might as well be government work


The Wood store was built about 1820, in typical Western Reserve Greek Revival style. It was the first permanent structure in Peninsula and is one of the oldest buildings in the Western Reserve. It was restored in the sixties by Robert Hunker, an architect who liked Peninsula so much he purchased the majority of downtown buildings. He liked Peninsula so much he locked out development with restrictive zoning and by having much of the town designated historical and inviolable. No water and sewer meant no fast food restaurants in his town.

Bob Hunker did draw up his own plans for sewer and water, but could never convince any regulatory agency they were viable. The current renovation has turned up many of his shortcuts, such as laying the gas line to the store 4” under the sandstone sidewalk. His cost cutting methods installed by his contractors, for full price, are legion in the village.

The man passed from this earth several years ago, and put his buildings in the custody of the Hunker Foundation, wisely renamed the Peninsula Foundation. The Wood store passed through several tenants; galleries in the art heyday of the town, dwindling away to a “collectables” store as the last tenant. When that shop departed, the Foundation began an extensive renovation, last May. I see in looking at the Foundation’s web site, much of the work is funded by donations. That ‘splains a lot, Lucy.

A friend who owns another gallery in town signed a lease with the Foundation, to take occupancy on June 1st. Diane intended to have her “Riverlight Gallery” open by the last weekend in June, to coincide with the big draw to town, the Boston Mills ArtFest. The work wasn’t done. In fact, the work was not done in time for any of the summer tourist trade, for the 4th of July, for Labor Day. Not for the first week of September, or the second, or the third.

Diane has a tentative move in date of Thursday, but I’m not holding my breath. The work I’ll have on consignment has been packed since June, and another tub has accumulated since then. I had granddaughters to carry it up the stairs back then; now I’ll probably commandeer a last minute worker for the job, this coming Thursday.


This picture is of the Wood store at the last time I was associated with it as a gallery, probably around 2004 or 2005. My friend Kathleen had her Crooked River Herb Farm shop there, and sold artensinal jellies, vinegars, soaps from her farm as well as the work of many local craftsmen. My brother Walt made the panels between the windows that listed all the unique items to be found in the shop.


The next time I visited the shop was Christmas, a couple of years ago. I did a blog posting decrying the Italinate pergola installed by some shop renter, and especially the sign hanging from a bracket bolted into the tree.


I took some pictures of the interior of the shop, and its then tennant's wares, a pop-up "fair trade" shop. I pointed out to the shopkeeper the cruelty of bolting a sign into a tree and left.



I'll post some pictures of the current renovation this week, and take some pictures of what I anticipate to be a beautiful new interior when I move in my inventory on Thursday.


September 15, 2015

29 comments:

  1. I hope the delays were worth it and the renovations are to everyone's liking. Old buildings are beautiful but expensive to maintain unless they are completely overhauled.

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    Replies
    1. Beside painting, the entire HVAC was replaced. The delays have been the discovery of and remediation of many Hunker changes over the years, such as additions with no foundations. After the first missed opening, no delay was a surprise, when explained.

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  2. Oh, I do hope that you/we are not disappointed.
    Jane x

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  3. So, I don't think we can tell from the final photo - was the sign ever removed from the tree trunk? Cripes.

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    Replies
    1. The tree came down over the summer, part of the renovation.

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    2. Well, I guess there was a good reason we couldn't see it! Was it dying or did they just "need" more room?

      And it wasn't until I came back to your post that I realized the significance of your title on this one! Hah! Funny :)

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    3. Actually, it probably was dead when LeSeraglio bolted the bracket into the tree. However, as Mark Twain said, nothing improves a good story like the omission of a fact. I felt it was another sacrilege to drive carriage bolts into the tree, dead or alive.

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    4. It looked green in the photo, but taking another look - was that ivy on it? Either way, as you say, why use the tree (and be a bad example for those who don't know better) when there are so many other ways to put up a sign?

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  4. It will be nice to see your work in a brick and mortar store, Joanne!

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  5. I hope all will be well. I love beautiful, old buildings, and beautiful, old people.

    Love,
    Janie

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  6. It is such a lovely building. I look forward to seeing what it looks like when completed.

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  7. I hope the tree is doing OK. It is a lovely looking shop. I do remember your post about the tree.

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  8. I love seeing shops, both interior and exterior, Joanne. I love these photos!

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  9. Sounds like an interesting area without fast food restaurants :) That is a cool building! Wishing you much success with your work when it eventually gets into the store.

    betty

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  10. I really, really hope all goes well and look forward to updated pictures of the interior. Always sad to lose a tree, but I am glad the sign went with it.

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  11. Hari OM
    Oh I recall the christmas post... and the tree was part of 'reno'??? hey ho... dunno 'bout "Lucy", but I'm shaking my head... fingers crossed for ya... YAM xx

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  12. I love seeing these beautiful buildings you post about.

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  13. A beautiful old building, and I'm excited that your wares will be placed there... but how sad when people have such disregard for the 'genius' of a place.

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  14. That was fun, getting to know the history of that old building. I look forward to hearing more about it.

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  15. Looks exciting, a new venue for your wares. Too bad about the tree. We lost a big old sycamore in the last storm, made me sad. I am constantly reprimanding campers for pounding nails into my trees. People do strange things. We have even had campers show up with chain saws, intent on gathering their own firewood,

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  16. It took a few double takes/looks to figure out the last pic is the downhill street side view. Mr. Hunker wasn't big on increased commerce I guess.

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    Replies
    1. Or the up hill. The building is vertical in the picture. One more building below the Wood store, then the Cuyahoga River. It's uphill both ways out of town.

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    2. Actually, Bob Hunker kept his town a Brigadoon in order to attract tourist commerce. The last two non-tourist attractions in town are leaving this year--a stamping operation and the Intermediate School. It will be a sad blow to the town's finances.

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  17. I hope they got rid of that awful pergola.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, but probably because it was in the way of the reno. It was up close to ten years. I pointed out to the Foundation members they might as well install a hot tub there, for continuity. No one with an historical understanding of architecture has sat on that board since Mr. Bob left us.

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  18. I so love seeing architecture from around the country--because these places in OH are a bit like MN buildings, but not really. How's that for deep analysis?

    I'm really excited for you to move your inventory into a place with such ambiance and history.

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  19. How exciting is that! I would love to visit such a building. And to see your work. Best to you as you get it set up how you want.

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  20. Oh I hope Thursday happens as planned.
    It's such a shame when anticipated happenings can't be worked out and finished on time.
    It's a beautiful building.

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  21. That is a gorgeous building. How exciting!

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