Friday, February 19, 2016

Under construction (on the west side)

Anyone who has spent time uptown this winter has been aware of the facade improvement project aimed at renewing and restoring so far as possible or practical the fronts of vintage buildings in Chariton's Courthouse Square National Historic District.

The project will continue into summer, but because incremental work has been in progress throughout the district since last fall, it's sometimes difficult to remember just how much already has been accomplished. Here are some photos taken Thursday on the west side.

Earlier this week, the sidewalk-level canopy on the 1904 Hollinger & Larimer building (top), now occupied by Chariton Vision Center, came down so that work on the lower facade could begin. Earlier, upper level windows --- blinded for decades by wooden inserts --- opened their eyes again when restored windows were installed across the front. Work continues on north-side windows. Just in case you've forgotten how the building looked a year ago, here it is:

Farther down, the Stanton Building --- now Johansen Plumbing & Heating --- still features a good deal of plywood. Upper-level openings have been boarded so that the windows behind them could be taken out and restored. The long panel of plywood at the first-floor level covers the area from which prism glass was removed several weeks ago for restoration. It's ready to be reinstalled, according to workers, but the metal and glass storefront below it will be removed and a new front built before that happens.

The angled front you see now will be removed and the basement entrance to the left eliminated. It will be replaced with a central-entry front similar to what was here in 1915, when the new Richardson Romanesque stone facade was added to the original 1867 brick building behind it.

Next-door, work on the street-level facade of The Office turned up a surprise --- an earlier sign that had advertised the business. This will be replaced as the project advances, so enjoy a blast from the past while you can.

Upper-level brickwork on this this building --- repair and repointing --- already has taken place and windows have been replaced. The Office occupies the north half of what was known as the Exchange Block when it was built in 1883 (the south half of the block is not included in the facade program). Originally, the block was topped by an elaborate cast-metal cornice, long since destroyed, and the windows were much taller, evident from the brick fill above the current windows.

Keep in mind that the glaring white of new window frames will blend into completed projects when painted. Most building owners involved in the project already have selected the colors of paint that will be used from a palette of historically accurate shades.

Farther south on Tuesday, workers were removing for restoration the prism glass panels that topped the original street-level facades when the Day-Mooney Block was built in 1889. Upper level brickwork has been completed on this building, which many will remember as the location of Young's, and the windows replaced. This building, too, once had an elaborate cast-metal cornice and more elaborate fenestration.

Meanwhile, back on the north side, workers were back in action, doing the reconstruction work necessary before the big second-floor window of the Edward Jones portion of the Brown Block can be inserted.

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