Friday, March 18, 2016

A walk down the block, continued

I left off last time in this little post-arcade walk down the east side of the square with the three 1914 buildings in the foreground that form a unified brown-brick block.

The next building in the sequence was built during late 1912 and early 1913 as the Grand Theater and proved to be such a popular venue that it was expanded east to the alley during early 1914. The theater had several owners and a variety of names during a very short period, then went out of business and the forepart of the street-level space was converted into a shop.

Very soon, however, it was converted into a theater again and that operation continued into World War II. After that, the ground floor returned to commercial use. It currently is owned by and houses  the offices of the South Central Iowa Community Foundation. 

The building, which is not part of the Facade Improvement Program, is similar to the 1904  Lockwood Building on the West side the square because of its projecting second-floor bay flanked by windows. The deeply recessed entry is a souvenir of its theater days, as is its mosaic floor. This recess originally continued across the front of the building, apparently with a projecting ticket office.

The Meyer Law Firm (Barnett) building next door began life during 1901 when it was constructed by Richard Barnett to house the Star Bakery, which moved there from a north-side location. During its years as a bakery the facade was largely glass. 

Attorney Virgil E. Meyer remodeled the building into offices during 1969, adding the lower part of the current brick facade, topped by a shingled pent roof. 

Ray Meyer commissioned the current front last year, preserving his father's work below and recreating the spirit of the original facade in patterned brick above. The brick cornice had to be entirely rebuilt --- even the "Barnett" name stone is new. Here's how the building looked before its most recent renovation.

The Swanson Building next door, now owned and occupied by Chariton Area Chamber/Main Street, has changed little since it was constructed during the 1950s --- the newest building on the east side. It is included in the Facade Improvement Program, but work has yet to begin here.

The final building in the block, Eikenberry-Crozier, was built during 1894 by the Daniel Eikenberry Estate to house the J.T. Crozier dry goods operation in its south half. The Eikenberry Estate built the Piper's Grocery building on the north side during the same year and in both instances the original buildings were moved into the street so that their tenants could remain in business while the new buildings were constructed.

Removal of the singled arcade revealed some very interesting details, including the names of earlier businesses, now faded --- Watkins Toggery and J.T. Crozier. The cranberry glass insert in the prism glass transom of the Crozier storefront is unique on the square.

This building is not included in the Facade Improvement Program, so there are no plans to replace the smaller windows inserted into boarded openings on the second floor, nor is it clear what the owner will do with the original street-level facade, now revealed.

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