Architecture

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Penn Place Lot and Block Number

Block 97; Lot 1

Major Alterations 

The building has undergone a series of changes over its lifetime. Photographs from 1890, show a building very much like the one that exists today. There are, however, differences in the roof line and pattern of slate shingles, the placement of windows, and treatment of the porch columns, that provide evidence that the building may have been entirely rebuilt. There is an undocumented statement that the building burned in its early days and was rebuilt on the original foundations. Such an event could certainly account for the differences seen in the photographs.

A number or changes occurred in the building after World War II. The building was covered with aluminum siding. The front porch serving the store was removed and replaced with a concrete slab. The side porch was reoriented and entered from the west side. In 1955 a rear two-story cinder block addition was built. There were shops on the first level and a new post office space on the floor above. The architect was Frank G. Beatty; the builder was George T. Stang. In 1959 a third story was added to the addition to serve as bedrooms for roomers. At the same time, the side porch was enclosed as part of a new shop space. A long sloping roof section was built above it, covering the original second floor windows. A pent roof was built across the front of the store section. First floor fenestration was changed: two multi-paned bay windows flanked the two entrance doors. Mrs. Penn converted the second floor and attic to her living quarters. The building took on a vaguely colonial appearance which it kept for over 40 years. The architect for these changes was Fred Miller and the contractor was George M. Parker. In 1978, after the Town of Garrett Park acquired the building, a steep-roofed stairway addition was built on the railroad track side to give access to the second floor which had been converted to office space. The addition was extended in 1980 to give access to the side door of the post office. The interior access from the store to the post office was then closed. David Almy was the architect for these later additions.

In 2002 the building underwent extensive renovation. All of the additions were removed. The aluminum siding was removed to expose the original German siding and fish scale singles in the gables. The original building was restored to its c.1894 appearance. The porches were rebuilt and fenestration returned to its original configuration. A new addition was built on the rear with a cross gable echoing that of the original building. A hyphen with large expanses of glass joins the two. Greg Wiedemann was the architect for the restoration and new addition.

Architect/Builder

Probably built by the crew of MIBC

Architectural Style and Building Type

Combination general store, storekeeper's residence, and public hall.

Architectural Description

This was originally a two-story frame ell-shaped structure on a sloping site with three full stories exposed in the rear. It was covered with German siding and had a patterned slate roof. The eastern half of the building contained a general story with a large open hall above it. A stairway to the hall went up the inside of the building along the east wall. Beneath the store was a large open storage cellar. The western half of the building was the residence of the shop-keeper. There were two front porches, one leading to the store and the other serving the residential side of the building. There was an entrance door from the side porch leading to a narrow stair hall. On the right were a parlor and a dining room. Above them were two bedrooms and a bath. The kitchen was in the basement. It served the dining room by means of a dumb waiter. The dumbwaiter cabinet is still in the former dining room. After renovation, the first floor is now the post office and community bulletin board. On the next floor is a restaurant in the original building. The restaurant kitchen, public restrooms, and a small gallery space are in the addition. The top floor of both the original building and addition contains office space. The Town Offices are located here along with several rented office spaces. The attic is used only for heating and ventilation equipment.

Sources: Lot and Block Index Cards provide information on chain of title, building and alteration dates. Most of the material in this entry is condensed from the Penn Place Historic Structures Report, 1998, prepared by Nancy Schwartz. Unless otherwise specified, sources can be found in the Garrett Park Town Archives.