The Roundhouse that sat on the east side of town was listed in the National Register in 1972 and was privately owned. Therefore, the city could not stop demolition although a strong effort was made by citizens to convince the city to purchase the site. All these years later it is still a sad memory. The old stone was sold to Napa Valley Wineries and to this day there are many regrets and resentments that something was not done to preserve our history. What have we learned over the years?
Adele’s is a privately-owned historic building that is not within the Historic District, comparable to the Roundhouse. The city could have stepped up to give suggestions and offer options on restoring it. It is unfortunate that all entities and resources in this community cannot pull together when needed.
I am an interior designer and know only too well what it takes to restore an old home. I have worked on many and live in one that was featured in Victorian Homes Magazine after our renovation.
The Bliss Mansion was one of my projects from 1992-94. It was on the verge of being demolished by the city due to a fire in the attic in the late 1800s that severely damaged the roof causing great interior damage. The city redevelopment funds at that time gave the owner, Teresa Sandrini, $50,000 to help with the restoration. Restoring an old house is expensive and a labor of love. The Historic Society sets standards that makes it virtually impossible for many of these buildings to be restored. Unfortunately, due to these restrictions, we have historic homes throughout our city that are dilapidated and abandoned.
To keep the integrity and look of the building, it is not necessary to restore these buildings to their original condition. If the people that lived in these homes were alive today the building materials used would certainly be updated. One being siding. There was a time when I was working on the Bliss Mansion that the owner wanted to apply siding to the exterior to help defer future costs of painting. To paint the outside of the Bliss Mansion at that time was $42,000. The Historic Society would not allow it. This is a prime example of how visually the building could be restored to resemble the old but help the current occupants who pay the bills to live comfortably in their homes.
Adele’s is a sad statement on all accounts. Frank Lepori, of Frank Lepori Construction, Inc., owner of the gas station who wants to extend his property could restore the original historic structure that was formerly the Music Box rather than demolishing the entire building. Lepori said that he is willing to donate the building with the commission adding that the Dumpster exterior must use the same stone exterior used on the existing building. This makes no sense due to the fact the entire building was going to be demolished! This obviously was not of concern, so why put these demands on a potential buyer? The Adele’s structure would be impossible to move with all the added additions. With the additions removed and the original structure intact, it would give Lepori some extended space.
Adele’s does not have to be a restaurant, but as suggested to me some uses of the space could be the Chamber of Commerce, Gift Shop, Museum or RV rest stop w/the Veranda. Relocating Adele’s, formerly the Music Box, would mean that we are losing a lot of history for the location is the north entrance to historic downtown, where the history all began.
If we don’t start taking a more practical approach of restoring these historic buildings, we will have more than just Adele’s being demolished; and will be repeating history as with the Roundhouse.