Monday, April 11, 2016

Good luck for the Good Luck Building

 If you're having a bad day, you might try standing under the giant horseshoe window on the second floor of Chariton's "Good Luck" Building. It's been doing its best to spread good fortune from the southwest corner of the square since 1883 and now has had some of its own. 

Reconstruction of the huge glazed opening bricked up many years ago in a fit of mid-century modernism began last week. The limestone sill hacked away when the smaller window was installed will be replaced and all new glazing, built in the form of the original, will be inserted.

The building, owned by Betty Hansen and home to a consignment antiques shop, is part of the facade improvement program now underway in the Courthouse Square Historic District. When the project is done, not only will the big window be in place again but prism glass that once crowned the street-level facade, now in Des Moines for restoration, will be re-installed atop a restored cast iron storefront.

Sadly, the huge cast-metal cornice that once crowned the building, at far left in this vintage postcard view, will not return. It's loss was permanent as were those on the two double-front blocks to the north. I'm sure their removal seemed like a good idea at the time.

Henry H. Day, who had owned a wood-frame building on this site, built the Good Luck Building during 1883 after a December, 1882, fire had burned everything on the southwest corner of the square south of the "Matson Brick" --- now embedded behind the stone facade of the Stanton Building to the north.

The Day home was located just to the west, across the alley near the railroad tracks, where a much later frame house still stands.

The Good Luck was built to house J.N. McCollough & Son, purveyors of dry goods, carpets and cloaks. Henry's daughter, Minnie, married the "Son" --- Addison D.H. McCollough --- during September of that year.

J. Fletcher Smith opened a real estate, law and collections office behind the big horseshoe window upstairs and C.F. Corona relocated his family from Creston to Chariton and opened a tailoring shop in the basement.

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