Facade program helps Morningstar give buildings facelifts

July 24, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

Editor's note: This is the first in an occasional series following the facade improvement efforts at 8/10 and 12 N. Potomac St. in Waynesboro, Pa. Work is scheduled to begin in early August and is expected to span four to five weeks. The two buildings are being restored with grant money obtained through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Brown, wooden packages tied up with siding. These are a few of his favorite things.

Singing, he's not, but Harry Morningstar's excitement is still palpable as he prepares to open another oversized present by undertaking the facade restoration of two downtown Waynesboro buildings.

"You're opening up something that was covered up 100 years ago," he said.

Morningstar, a local businessman, has "opened" four other buildings using grant money in a process that largely involves stripping off anything added to structures typically historic in nature.

What lies beneath can be delightful or infuriating, he said.


The latest wrapped packages before him are a double house at 8/10 N. Potomac St. and another house at 12 N. Potomac St. Each has four apartments inside and was accepted into the facade improvement program on the condition they be converted to commercial entities.

"We're just going to give them some curb appeal," Morningstar said.

Architectural firm William Power Associates of Pittsburgh has concept plans for the buildings, but those can change quickly when Brad Royer of Waynesboro's Royer Construction starts preparation work in the next several weeks. His work is projected to span four to five weeks.

The high school classmates stood in front of the buildings Sunday and discussed replacing a second-floor porch on 8/10 N. Potomac St.; removing an awning and adapting spouting at 12 N. Potomac St.; and installing columns and increasing scalloping details on both buildings.

"We are going to be using some new materials, which is nice," Royer said.

The effort isn't a true restoration, but rather an adaptation, Morningstar said. He described a trip to Cape May, N.J., where some structures had been restored to their original Victorian-style roots, while others had been designed to mimic the style.

Morningstar has owned the buildings for almost 20 years and adds them to grant-funded facade restorations at the Sub Station, 100 W. Main St.; Furniture Market display, 37 W. Main St.; his parents' Attic Storage and Sheffler's Uniform Shop, 44 E. Main St.; and arched windows at the Furniture Market, 22 N. Church St.

A primary effort of the facade improvement program is to ensure the project buildings fit into the character of the downtown.

"It's interesting to me that people don't even notice it being done. It's hard to remember what it looked like before," Morningstar said.

Morningstar remembers 8/10 N. Potomac St. housing Embly Real Estate in the 1960s and a shoe repair shop at one time. A local judge had lived at 12 N. Potomac St., which was built directly to the property line, he said.

"I was told it was the first town house in Waynesboro. There was not a blade of grass on it," Morningstar said.

By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Harry Morningstar, left, and Brad Royer will restore the two North Potomac Street buildings behind them. The properties were approved to participate in facade restoration programs.

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