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Greencastle Chamber remodeling effort unearths hidden surprise

February 22, 2002

Greencastle Chamber remodeling effort unearths hidden surprise



By RICHARD F. BELISLE
waynesboro@herald-mail.com


Dana Given got a pleasant surprise recently when workers pulled down the underside of an overhang across the front of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce office.

Hidden for years by the wooden facade from an old renovation was a row of leaded glass windows that stretched over the entire front of the building.

"It was an exciting find," said Given, executive director of the chamber. "No one remembers ever seeing it. It's in excellent condition. The entire facade of the building will change because of this discovery."

The exterior of the building at 217 E. Baltimore St., at one time a grocery store, is getting a facelift for the first time since the chamber bought it six years ago.

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Prior to that, the building was occupied by Henry's Floor Covering.

The chamber was organized in 1955. It operated in rented space on Greencastle's Center Square before buying the East Baltimore Street property.

The chamber bought the building with help from a $10,000 donation from the Greencastle-Antrim Area Development Corp. The mortgage will be paid off in 2015.

The only major renovations done to the building since the chamber bought it were in the executive director's office.

Given was hired in May 1999. Since then membership has grown by 30 percent to nearly 300 members.

The exterior renovations to the century old, two-story frame chamber building include replacement of its 28 windows and installing tan-colored vinyl siding to replace the peeling painted outside walls. The exterior trim will be dark green, Given said.

The chamber rents a five-room upstairs apartment, Given said.

Money to pay for the renovations comes from a Pennsylvania Conservation Corps grant. The grant money is paying for all of the labor of the PCC crews doing the work and 75 percent of the materials. The vinyl siding will be installed this spring.

PCC is a state-sponsored program which teaches young people building trade skills through hands-on training.

The windows were installed last fall, Given said. Workers have been adding trim to the windows and installing vinyl soffit to the building. It was during that phase of the renovation that the leaded glass windows were discovered.

The chambers hopes to raise money to do some interior renovations as well, Given said.

Right now the interior includes the front reception area where the secretary sits, Given's office behind that and to the rear a large empty room. It was added on to the building by Henry's Floor Covering as a storage room. It has bare walls and a concrete floor. The chamber uses it for a conference room.

At the least, Given said she'd like to see the back room painted and carpeted. An ambitious goal would be adding a restroom. "Then it could be available for use by the community," she said.

New carpeting is needed in the two front rooms too, she said.

So far Given has only received $500 toward the interior renovation project. She said letters will be sent out this month seeking donations to redo the interior.

"How much we do will depend on how much money is donated," Given said.

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