by Ivan Foley
An extensive exterior renovation project on one of the oldest buildings in downtown Platte City is now complete.
Work began in the summer on the brick front of the 1869 structure housing The Landmark Newspaper at 252 Main Street. Photos accompanying this article on this page, and additional pictures--including one of the final product--on page A-10 depict a before, during and after look at the building as work progressed over the past several months.
The final portion of the project took shape last week with the installation of four arch top windows in the second story.
Commercial Waterproofing of Parkville arrived on site in July. Their first step was to power wash the brick to remove much of the paint that for many years had covered the original brick.
Paint that didn’t come off with the high-pressure washing was removed by use of a chemical stripping agent. Using the harsh chemical stripper was a tedious process, with the work performed on weekends when there was very limited foot and vehicle traffic on Main Street. The chemical stripping method was chosen to prevent damage to the brick that sandblasting away the paint would have caused to the original brick.
No bricks had to be replaced in the process, as the integrity of the original brickwork was maintained.
Workers from Commercial Waterproofing then spent weeks tuckpointing the mortar joints. Their final step was to coat the brick with a water repellant sealer.
Commercial Waterproofing also removed, repaired and repainted an old black-on-white metal sign, which was then placed higher up on the building, centered just above the second story windows. The sign had earlier hung below the second story windows.
While the brick work was being finished, specially-made windows were being ordered through the Platte County firm of JPI Glass. The aluminum, full-arch top windows would take three months to acquire from the manufacturer.
In the meantime, Steve Evanoff of Steve Evanoff Construction of Weston replaced some of the wood trim and re-caulked around the large picture windows facing the sidewalk on the first floor.
Landmark intern Kurt Foley and publisher Ivan Foley then primed and painted the wood portions of the building, changing the look from its former teal color to white with black trim.
Meanwhile, Landmark office manager Cindy Rinehart designed artwork for new street level window signage. From her design, a black-on-white sign was created and installed on the window by Christopher Lutz of Righteous Creations, of Platte County.
When installed last week, the energy efficient full-arch top windows featuring a sunburst design at their highest point replaced the old smaller windows.
The former windows had only covered the lower portion of the arched opening in the building, and the remainder of the opening had previously been filled with painted plywood.
Before the renovation, only three window openings were in the second story. A fourth opening on the east end of the building had been bricked shut at some point in time. That fourth location was reopened during the renovation and filled with a fourth arched top window.
Installation of the second story windows, which wrapped up on Friday, completed the exterior rehabilitation project.
OF THE BUILDING
Part of the site on which The Landmark building is located housed the original Platte County Courthouse. That courthouse--for which a marker stands on the sidewalk--stood from 1840 until being burned in 1861 during the Civil War.
The current Landmark building was constructed in 1869. Historical accounts indicate it originally housed, at various times, a drug store, post office, general store and a hardware store.
Most historical accounts indicate The Landmark moved into the building in 1889 and has remained since that time.
The Landmark began publication in 1865 in Weston. It was moved to Platte City in 1871 and operated out of a variety of locations throughout the downtown area prior to moving into its existing location in 1889.
Also in 1889, the second story was built onto the original structure. The second story at the time housed the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge (IOOF), a worldwide fraternal order active in a variety of civic and philanthropic efforts.
Until the renovation project began, an IOOF sign remained on the building, having been covered when paint was applied to the brickwork many years ago. That sign, the outline of which is visible with a close look above the middle two second story windows in the “before” pictures in the collage, was taken down during the project and is now a “keepsake” in The Landmark office.
The building had a variety of owners in its early days before former Landmark publisher Max Jones became owner in 1918. The building remained in the Jones family for many years, even after the Joneses had sold the newspaper operation. Former Landmark publisher Ethel Mae Foley, whose late husband Dwayne had purchased the newspaper operation in 1979, bought the building from the Jones family in 1998. Current publisher Ivan Foley purchased the building in 2002.