On a recent climb from the Old City toward Gay Street – or downtown to uptown, if you prefer – I noticed large glass panels disappearing from the front of a building. It’s actually a series of three side-by-side buildings which house Bacon and Company. Some people may know the building by the most prominent sign which is “William R. Moore, Inc.,” though I’m not sure a business by that name has operated there in quite some time.
Bacon and Company has operated at this address, 200 W. Summit Hill Drive, for fifty years. More precisely, it hasn’t moved during that time, though the street was redesigned and their designated address probably did change. They manufacture, “custom embroidery, screen printing, promotional products, personalized gifts and other specialty items.” I’m told they do a significant amount of the work for UT sports.
The facade is beautiful above the first floor, but at some regrettable time in recent decades, someone felt the building would look more “modern” if it had large glass plates along the bottom. This decision included both buildings on the end of this small row, with the smaller middle building somehow avoiding the fate of the other two. As with many alterations, they can’t always be undone entirely.
The guys doing the work that day told me that the front of the building will be similar to the back of the 301 building which is a material that appears similar to stucco. From what I could see revealed beneath the glass plates, this is probably the best they can do, though clearly this would not have been the original look of the building.
I wondered what prompted the activity: Usually facade work precedes or follows a change in ownership. I was told this is not the case. It appears to be a good downtown citizen realizing that the building should be honored as best as is possible and they are trying to do the right thing. I also did not hear of a CBID grant or a request for a tax waiver, so I have to appreciate that. You may want to stroll down that direction and look at the work going on there. If you see someone out and about, you may want to thank them for what they are doing.
I’ll end with another make-over of another building: Shonos in the City at 5 Market Square. Apparently, a ripple effect from the improvements made to the rest of the Kern Building with the renovations to the Hotel Oliver and to the corner now hosting Tupelo Honey, Shonos should look very different in the near future. Work is proceeding inside and out and it’s nice to see one of the older businesses on the square continuing to invest.