Local baker and old building-lover Jeff Smalley dropped us a note this week to let us know of sad and pointless damage to the property he is developing at the former Wilshire Market near the corner of NE Fremont and Alameda. You’ll recall that Jeff is the creative force behind Fire and Stone, the new cafe that is transforming this 1923 commercial building.
When we met Jeff a few weeks back, he was going out of his way to protect and to showcase the historic window–clearly a time traveler from an earlier day–that marked the location of Padrow’s Pharmacy. He liked the vintage look and feel of the window, and after all it has been there for a couple generations.
But on a night this past week, someone spray painted the window. Because the historic window was originally painted on the outside, this senseless act has irreparably damaged the surface. Aside from being completely disgusted about this development, Jeff reports that he has video surveillance in place now throughout the construction site and is ready to pursue and prosecute further vandalism. As for the window, its future does not look good.
Does the owner have pictures of the Padrow window? He could approach the Alameda neighborhood asso to help him solicit funds and grants to recreate a handsome replacement window and reinstall it securely. It wouldnt have to be an exact copy – a colorful artistic replica with the same historic wording would serve well. With the right publicity, the restoration could draw people to the site. I think that business would get a lot of attention and support by NOT ACCEPTING the finality of the loss. History lives on!
I’ve had the same thought Margaret, and have already reached out to Jeff volunteering to take on the task and to see if AH readers might be willing to contribute to the cause. I’ve been looking for photos of the window for the last month but haven’t turned anything up, and am now on a pathway to find an artist with experience in restoring ghost signs. Stay tuned as this develops.
Maybe if it can be restored (costly), another pane of glass can be placed over it to protect it from further damage. I’d put some bucks in a donation jar, and I’ sure many others would too.