Monday, February 23, 2009

My Town Monday: Bats in the Belfry

The Sauer Building remains the only complete Victorian commercial building in my town after a series of fires from in the 1800s to the early 1900s. With the exception of this building, our historic commercial district buildings date back only to the first decades of the 1900s. I have found one reference saying the building was built in 1815 and another says 1875. Which is it? I'll need more research.

When I first moved here, the first floor housed an old-fashioned, Mayberry RFD style hardware store. Times and StuffMart being what they are, the hardware store closed and became a "laser technology" store, with air conditioning.

For some time, I never gave the old building a thought, though I don't know why not. Look at the windows. Don't they make you wonder what is up there? Well, at one time, I had heard that in the early 1900s, it was used for dances on the weekends. That intrigued me somewhat, and thought it would be something to have such a space available for our teen homeschool group. But then I got busy with other things and soon forgot about it.

Fast forward to a recent teen dancing/costume party, and I thought again of the old building, once known as the Opera House. It turns out that the space above the store once was used for dances, basketball games, school productions and plays, even rollerskating. It has a stage and the original fixtures. (I am wondering if that means in the bathrooms as well. Likely.)

The room(s) have been in disuse mostly (one reference to rolling bandages there in WII) since the school gymnasium was built in 1912. Our thought turned to the possibility of an old fashioned dance floor there when contemplating future contra dance sessions for our teens. Yet, a friend recently emailed and said that some years back, the owner took her up there to see it, and it was a "bat hotel". That means holes - and possibly damage. It definitely means guano.

I am saddened by the recent news of family and friends who are sick. One beautiful young lady with melanoma on her scalp, dh's aunt with liver cancer, and most recently, my dear brother, George, who will undergo radiation for colon tumors, likely cancerous. Though out of my control to help them, my prayers and thoughts go out to them. May God hold you all in His loving hands.


Cloudia said...

Wow! Cool building (and post)

I'm praying for your folks. Love to the animals and to you!

debra said...

It's interesting that many old buildings had ballrooms on the second
floor. I wonder why...
I will hold you, your family and your friends in my thoughts.

whitetr6 said...

C, cancer claimed my beloved uncle yesterday morning after a very long fight. It is a brutal relentless disease. But I want to believe God has placed the talent in some young doctor's mind to cure it in our lifetime. I'm especially sorry to hear what George may be facing. I will pray for him.

Mary said...

That is a fascinating building with an interesting history.

I'm praying with you for your loved ones.

Jenn Jilks said...

Cancer is a difficult issue. My sympathies. My mom died at home, dad (with a brain tumour) in long-term care. I am currently taking a palliative care course - a bit late, but interesting nonetheless. I hope to do some volunteer work in this area and help others. In this day and age, at least, we need not worry about pain management. That was my greatest regret: that I did not possess this information. It drove me batty, and resulted in depression. All preventable issues.

Becky said...

I still believe that there's purpose ahead for the old Opera House! I feel it in my bones. And yes, there WAS a lot of guano.

I'll be including George in my prayers, along with several others. My dear friend's son spoke at our church Sunday morning, and his message was right on. Endurance through suffering, where God brings us to the place in Him of being made perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4)

It was an incredibly impacting message, due to the fact that the messenger himself has been in the fire for 16 years.

God is faithful & true....and He lives in the midst of the fires of life.

Keep us posted on George.....

David Cranmer said...

Your family and friends are in my thoughts and thanks for another great MTM post.

Passage of a Woman said...

Interesting old building. Our town, and many around here, still have many if not most of the original buildings. I often look up and wonder who or what was or is housed on upper floors, oftentimes still in use; sometimes not. Years ago, proprietors used to live over their stores and businesses, so I imagine many of them were the owners' own dwellings.

I'm sorry to say I did not know about George. I will certainly be praying for his health and recovery. Please keep me posted.


Junosmom said...

Thanks to each of you for your prayers. The tests on George are still inconclusive, though they half scared my mom to death with dire predictions. He will start with radiation and we will go from there.

All the old buildings intrigue me. I wonder about their history, if walls could talk.

Junosmom said...

Mark, my condolences to you and your family on the loss of your uncle. I, with you, rejoice at each new advancement against cancer. My maternal gma had it, my mom had it, though both lived to tell about it - I am thinking I best be careful screening myself.


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