Last night Tom and I attended ARCH, the historic preservation organization's annual meeting where they released their annual list of endangered architectural assets and announced this year's ARCHie award winners for their preservation efforts. Born Again Quilts restoration studio received the commendation award for the rehabilitation of a commercial building and Metro Realty/Brian Schaper received the award for rehabbing the building at 2219 Broadway. Brian's project is near and dear to my heart. Located on across the street from Zesto's, when I attended Emmaus Lutheran Church and School in the early 1960s it was the Polka Dot Grocery run of course by Dotty. I fondly remember going there after school with my dad and older brother and sister and having a Coke and getting candy while my dad visited with Dot. In 1963 we moved away from the area and the Polka Dot closed. The building had other occupants but they seemed to be transient businesses and the building fell into rack and ruin. It was wonderful to watch the work progress on this old building over the summer. Kudos to Brian!
Having been through the process of rehabbing a building, it is clear that it takes a village of dedicated people to make it happen. First the City of Fort Wayne's façade grant program and its administrator Aliza Tourkow made it possible for us to afford the project. I had the good fortune of meeting Phil Shirmeyer a couple of years ago and he became instrumental in getting the restoration done right. He enlisted architect Wesley Welsh to create the renderings of the building down to the smallest detail. They prodded and poked the building to ensure doing restoration on one segment would not adversely affect another or if it would to encompass it too into the over all plan. Phil recommended Matt Schenkel of Shawnee Construction to bid on the entire project and their sub-contractors did an outstanding job.
I witnessed the Deluxe Glass team headed by Chris Cromwell install the new laminated energy efficient "Low E" windows which have made a difference in reducing the electric bills and minimizing fabric fading. It was a happy day when I met Rick Gambell of G & G Painting and Decorating who took charge of painting the colors I chose with the approval of Don Orban the city's historic preservation planner. You can't miss the bright pink door!
The window display cases had to be totally redone when it was discovered the wood beneath the ugly gray shag carpet was rotted. Delagrange Construction did an outstanding job and their work is now lit for the first time in years thanks to L & A Electric. Their new flooring and the porcelain pieces replacing the crumbling half-brick exterior were the work of Contract Interiors; the back door now tight and secure Moss Building Products.
Last but not least I am proud that the studio now is ramped and wheelchair accessible. A few weeks ago ladies of Kingston Residence came by to visit. Some used walkers and other wheelchairs. No one had a problem getting into the studio to learn about the art of quilt restoration. I can proudly say I restore quilts in a restored building.
Lois Eubank is the owner of Born Again Quilts, 4005 South Wayne Ave. 515-9446. The studio will be open on Friday, November 29 from 9 – 5 for a local old-fashion shopping experience.