This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Behind the new windows

If you have been downtown in the past week you almost certainly noticed that there are changes being made to the old Oddfellows Building. On Thursday I got a chance to see what was going on behind the windows.
 The Oddfellows Building has three floors. The stairway from the second to the third floor has a landing and decorative finials; similar finials seem once to have graced the top of the stairs from the street to the second floor.
 At the top of the stairs is a hallway. On the northwest side workers are readying a large apartment. It will have a bathroom and utility space (washer and dryer plus storage) through the left doorway below and a kitchen through the right doorway. At present plans are to leave the large room that makes up most of the floor space undivided.
 Here is a different view of the large room, showing the windows that are at the back of the building. This apartment will not have much of a view.
 Coming out of the back apartment one again enters the hallway. The stairs are on the left and a hallway to one of the new front apartments is through the arch. If you look carefully you might see some of the old coat hooks. The front part of the building was once a meeting hall and people would hang their coats in this hallway. (A fire escape will be installed on a window at the end of this hallway.)
 The large room at the front of the building has been cut into two apartments that are mirror images of each other. An enclosure has been made for the bathroom and utility room, and the top of this enclosure will be a loft reached by the new stairs. When completed, there will be railings on the loft and stairs. Through the door you can see into the back apartment where the carpenters were eating lunch.
 The center bay windows will not be divided between apartments. Rather they will be shared. The little alcove will have entrances from both apartments.
 The view from these windows is spectacular and a little unnerving for anyone with a touch of acrophobia.
Passing through the alcove, one can enter the second apartment. Below you can see the view looking toward the street.
Though things are still in a very unfinished state, it is easy to see that these will be wonderful apartments for those who want a view and a big open space and who do not mind two flights of stairs.

The owner is trying to restore the front of the building to its original appearance but only has old and indistinct pictures from which to work. If anyone has any color pictures of what the building looked like before the siding was put on, he would like to see them, though he suspects the siding may have been installed in the 1950s when most photography was black and white.

1 comment:

Gerrit DeVries said...

Thanks for taking us behind the facade for an inside look. I love and admire old buildings and have restored a couple myself, but not such a large project. It's very commendable that someone is doing this in "historic" Rensselaer. I hope others catch on and more of the buildings around the courthouse make such improvements.