Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hammer Man

We live in an old bank building, built in 1925. My wife (the designer) and I (cheap labor) have divided it into apartments upstairs and a concert/meeting hall downstairs. Sometimes it's fun to look beyond all the renovations at the parts of the building that haven't changed.
Many years ago, I was painting a hallway with frosted iron-frame windows, all very heavy-duty and unchanged since the time the building was built. An old tape machine keeps me company when I'm doing these manually intensive chores. Large coffee cans hold endless collections of cassette tapes. On this particular day, I was playing a collection of music from the mid-20s, by Paul Whiteman, Duke Ellington, and others. There was a strange resonance, the music sounded so poignant, as if the building was listening, too, remembering when it was first built. The Merchants and Mechanics Bank of Bay View was the place where Bay View workers took their hard-earned paychecks. They were a hard-working lot - many steel factories and foundries supported the area's workforce.

One of them remains on the front of our building - a blacksmith with his hammer and anvil commemorate the original purpose of the building. Although thousands of people pass by the building every day, when I point this guy out, most people say "I never knew that was there..."

Thanks for listening and contributing. All dm's answered promptly. @dimbulb52

1 comment:

leslie said...

You live in that building?! I've always wanted to live in an old church. Cool!