Thursday, September 8, 2016

Celebrating the “Open Door” Initiative

The “Open Door” Initiative is a program through the Ohio Historical Society and their preservation wing to encourage us at the local level to examine “treasures” in our own neighborhood.

One of the exciting things we found in our own local research is how many and how versatile the downtown Versailles business district was in its design. Space was used for retail on multiple levels and also numerous housing opportunities were located downtown. Built for their utility, numerous buildings also included beautiful interior plaster and woodwork. True craftsman enhanced many ordinary buildings into extraordinary interiors.

On September 11th Museum Board member, Jim Kelch will unveil a slide presentation of several of Versailles’ local architectural treasures. While ideally a walking tour is the best way, we have done the second best thing by using the photography talents of Dick Coffield, Larry Martin, and others to capture the hidden architecture of several of our local buildings from the Ballroom (upstairs in the Versailles Policy building) or the LaMoine Building from Socials, to Wedding receptions, to recitals, to also providing indoor roller skating, basketball and classroom space as the 1927 school was being constructed. A true multi-purpose room before the term was used!
This late Victorian/Edwardian architectural decoration from fluted skinny columns to beautiful wood work and moldings, this building was very elaborate for our simple community.

The only third floor building in Versailles currently houses The House of Flowers and the Floor Store and More. The third floor was the home to several Lodges and most recently the home of the Knights of Columbus. This area features the original lighted symbol affixed to the ceiling. A small raised stage gave a place for bands to play and the main door features a flip style “peep hole” to see who is at the door. The second floor was home to the local Library and the switchboard for the local phone company.

While sharing these and several other hidden spaces we will also announce the plans we are making to help tell our story in the downtown area as we partner with the village to create a Heritage Walk to help celebrate our upcoming Bicentennial (in 2019).

We hope you’ll join us for this special “Open Door” event and watch your local newspapers for other area “Open Door” events throughout the month of September.

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