Brian Bock of Naperville was envisioning the possibilities Tuesday as he tore down wood trim and ripped out windows from an old house on the North Central College campus that’s soon to be history.
A long wooden board could be sanded and decorated with words like “Welcome family,” or “Coffee 15¢.” A window panel three panes wide could be hung vertically and painted to say “Faith, Hope, Love.”
Bock was one of several salvagers to gather building materials out of six structures set to be torn down beginning next week to make way for a new science center at the college in downtown Naperville. He had his eye on pieces that could become memory boards or lantern posts — things he sells through his hobby business, Rescued Creations.
“The fun is in the doing; it’s not in the selling,” Bock said Tuesday as he took a hammer to one of the houses at the southwest corner of Loomis Street and Van Buren Avenue. “I’m just taking a day off today to take advantage of saving the planet — one window at a time.”
North Central opened the structures to the campus and community Tuesday to let simple pieces such as doorknobs, hinges and decorative wooden panels become great finds for history buffs and interior decorators. Even the peony plants and tiger lilies outside the buildings are fair game for the salvage operation that continues from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Anyone who wants to browse the buildings should check in at 330 E. Van Buren Ave.
“The salvage of materials is … the next greatest thing if you can’t move a whole entire house,” said Mike Hudson, North Central’s assistant vice president for business operations. “They stay in the neighborhood and can be reused.”
The buildings set to be razed include five houses that previously were used for faculty offices, one that fronts Van Buren Avenue and the rest along Loomis Street. The sixth is the student village residence hall, which opened in 1965.
Salvagers such as Amy Narayanan of Warrenville focused on the older houses, likely built around the 1920s. There, she found floorboards and fixtures, even the side doors of a shower stall.
“This kind of stuff is some of our style,” said Narayanan, who plans to make a jewelry wall using found fixtures as hooks for necklaces. “You don’t get a chance to salvage a house very frequently.”
Once …Read More