Workers peel away layers to reveal historic C.P. building

2013-08-31T19:45:00Z 2013-08-31T23:12:09Z Workers peel away layers to reveal historic C.P. buildingSusan Erler susan.erler@nwi.com, (219) 662-5336 nwitimes.com
August 31, 2013 7:45 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | A copy of a 1950s-era newspaper was among the finds unearthed as workers stripped away layers of older renovations to a 122-year-old building in downtown Crown Point.

Carpenter Allen Stock found the newspaper behind walls of the building, 101 N. Main St., where it probably had been placed by workers who renovated the building at the time, Stock said.

Stock said he'll likely continue the tradition and bury a current newspaper in the walls he's constructing as part of a nearly $400,000 project to restore the building to its original look.

Constructed in 1891 at the corner of Main and Clark streets, the three-story Allman Block Building provided an early street scape from a storefront picture window onto Main Street and five narrower windows facing Clark Street.

Over the years, in what workers believe were up to five separate renovations, the big picture window on the building's east face and the five smaller ones on the south face all were covered over.

The south-facing windows got encased in cinder blocks covered by a shell of bricks painted to look brick red.

In its most recent transformation, probably in the 1950s, the storefront window was covered with wood paneling cut with narrow slit windows in a look modern for its time.

Sandra Bapple, who with husband Matt owns the building that is home to their Bapple and Bapple CPA firm, loved the building and wanted to see it restored.

Work got underway in spring as crews peeled away previous modifications of a building that over time housed a bank, a bakery and a piano store, among other businesses. Completion is expected in early October.

Masons at work on the building last week set replacement bricks chosen for their near perfect match to the original bricks, and work continued on both the south and east faces of the building.

The Bapples' hope of restoring the front picture window faded when workers uncovered steel posts installed in one of the previous renovations.

The position of the three posts meant three smaller windows would face Main Street instead of the one large window.

Though not exactly what they'd hoped, the smaller windows "are still staying within the fabric of the historic look," Sandra Bapple said.

The Bapples bought the building in 2001 and since then have restored the exterior of the two top floors. The CPA firm with a total 10 employees is housed on all three floors.

Ongoing renovations to the building exterior extend indoors, where sun-drenched offices, a conference room and reception area will replace partitioned spaces, among other enhancements.

The exterior work has been granted $50,000 of Downtown Restoration Program funding, meant to improve the street appearance of the downtown commercial district.

The remainder of the cost is being paid by the Bapples.

"I love this building," Sandra Bapple said.

After one of her sons joined the family business, Bapple looked to the future.

"One hundred years from now this building will still be here," she said.

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