Thursday, March 14, 2013

Turning up terrazzo --- and look at those cars

What you're supposed to be looking at here in addition to Dave Hendricks (behind that great old desk) and two colleagues in the foyer of the Connecticut Yankee Pedaller bike shop yesterday --- is the floor. Which doesn't look like much right now, but that will change.

The Hendricks operate the Pedaller out of the old Ritz Theater, which they rescued a good many years ago, and also own the building next door where Harbor House Christian Book Store is located as well as the apartments upstairs, once kown as the Cramer Flats. The theater was built in 1927, then rebuilt after a major southside fire in 1930. The adjacent building dates entirely from 1930 --- the building it replaced was destroyed in the 1930 fire.

In any case, Dave started pulling up carpet in the foyer last week --- planning to replace it --- and discovered the original terrazzo surface underneath. Now, once the stubborn glue that held the carpet in place is removed, he plans to restore it. The close-up suggests that getting rid of the glue is going to be a challenge.

The terrazzo originally floored the arched central recess of the theater as it was originally built, which provided shelter for theater patrons before they entered the lobby proper. On either side were long, narrow retail spaces that the theater owner rented out to businesses that didn't need too much space.

As the years passed, the lobby doors advanced north until the current configuration --- the entire area enclosed and its doors opening directly onto the sidewalk --- was established.

You can see how the theater looked when it was built in this kind of fuzzy photograph which dates most likely from 1929 --- just before the fire. I happened upon a photocopy of this photo some time ago and have been chasing the original with no luck ever since.

But at least yesterday I finally figured out where it came from. In the photocopy, the photo is slightly skewed against a graphic background that features a charger --- a knight in armor aboard a horse, long-time Chariton High School athletic team symbol. I got to thinking, duh --- yearbook. And found these four great (printed) images of the fours sides of the square in my dad's 1931 Charitonian yearbook grouped on a two-page spread intruducing sponsor advertising.

The charger was no where to be seen, so now I'm wondering if the same images weren't used for a couple of years running in the Charitonian, even though by 1931, when my dad graduated, the building west of the Ritz had been replaced and the towering Lincoln Theater (also called the Temple and/or Knights of Pythias building) was entirely gone. So I'm going to check out 1928, 1929 and 1930 Charitonians today and we'll see.

1 comment:

Lucinda Burkhalter said...

In regard to the parking situation way back then, I think our square should look like it did then and get rid of all the signs and confusion of the one way traffic! Do you think there is any chance of going back to the old way of parking? I've thought about this idea for quite a while when it comes to remodeling out town square!