Renovating brick-by-brick

Published 8:45 pm Thursday, September 25, 2008

A 102-year-old building at the corner of Main Street and Highway 191 in Jemison is getting a facelift.

Large cracks had begun showing in the building’s storefront – signs that major renovation work was needed soon. The structure is one of at least three changing landmarks in old town Jemison.

“The downtown part of Jemison is an area we want to get cleaned up,” Mayor Eddie Reed said. “It’s something the city is glad to see.”

The corner building is part of a thrift store that supplies the Son Light Center, a local food bank and shelter. Its current owner, Betty Pettway, acquired the property about eight years ago.

A brick on an inside wall located behind an antique stove bears the date April 20, 1906, indicating that the building’s construction was completed around that time.

“I was told that it came from a brick factory in Thorsby,” Pettway said. “That’s what the previous owner told me.”

When workers started tearing the bricks away, they discovered the front wall was three bricks thick. Some of the debris disintegrated into the air as it fell to the sidewalk below.

The intent of the renovation project is to redo the building’s storefront as close to the original design as possible, Pettway said.

Just down the street, the old Cobb Hardware store is getting a new roof. Not far from the Jemison fire station, a brand-new structure is going up in place of a recently demolished building.

“We hope to see more of these renovations in the near future,” Reed said.