Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Let's "do Napanee"

IOOF Hall below the basketweave brick and bright brackets
In these days of electronic communication, it's possible to meet, discover common interests and become friends - before actually meeting. So it was a fine day indeed when last Friday I ventured to Napanee for lunch with Jane at Ellena's Cafe, to pass on a small collection of Century Home magazines (in return for which I received some toothsome brownies) and go walkabout in one of my favourite towns.

Not surprisingly, we found conversation easy. Jane is an active member of the municipal heritage committee, newsletter editor/writer for the Adolphustown-Fredericksburg Heritage Society newsletter - and a big fan of Ham House.

nice terra cotta, too bad about the in-window a/c

We started by admiring the classical front of this former bank, and ended in a lovely chat with Jefta Monster, who with wife Cat owns and operates Starlet, a wonderfully popular eclectic shop full of  accessories and style for those with a clothing budget.

one third of the amazing Starlet
Three rooms of luxe and fun accessories are housed in the former Merchant's Bank (later BofM), Pigeon's Pool Room and grain retailer/travel agent. The couple retained heritage aspects like the mosaic floor in the bank, and coffered ceilings, and copied design elements in the other two boutique spaces. And added an eclectic 50s vibe.

Here's a nice article about the duo and their dream. These two - and their team - deserve every accolade they get!

The shop's been in existence for nine years, and the personality and buzz of the place is still infectious. Even the Globe and Mail likes them!

 The question posed in the title of the Globe and Mail article (assuming you haven't already travelled the link to the September 2014 piece) is 'Can Fashion Save a Small Town? This Revival Suggests Yes' is one dear to heritage activists everywhere. We see the return of vibrant downtowns linked to their heritage attributes, to specialty shops and restaurants, and to residential redevelopment of old buildings.

Downtowns becoming destinations, once more. Napanee is right on trend with their ambitious plan to re-purpose parts of the former Gibbard furniture factory, and add other residential space along the river. I would live there.

And this tiny perfect grey-painted brick jewel. Wouldn't it make a great local eatery? Love that it has its own tree. I would go there.

This is a glimpse of the post office tower, usually obscured by summer foliage, and the heritage committee plaque. I'm impressed (and edified) by all the information the heritage designation plaques contain.

  So. The walkabout. Jane is a retired engineer. She has the best eye for detail of anyone I know - and asks a lot of questions! So our downtown tour featured observations like "the bricklayer put in one brick upside down," and "did you notice the face on the parapet?" "What would the ceiling height be on that top floor with the knee-height windows?"
the bricklayer was no 'star'...note the curved brick

And then there's: "those grilles aren't symmetrically placed."

And: "the roundels are falling off some of the window hoods."

And it was Jane who noticed (and waved to) the man at the desk in the central bay window of the IOOF hall building I was photographing.

I have the feeling there's another walkabout in our future.
would love to know the story behind this quizzical face

No comments:

Post a Comment