Remaking downtown

courtesy of Stephen Thompson

courtesy of Stephen Thompson

The 115-year-old building is about to undergo just such a remodeling as First Street’s revival continues.

Architect Stephen Thompson said he sees beyond the building’s dilapidated exterior (and interior) to see its potential as a home for retail on the first floor and a home for himself upstairs. He’s been working with the owners of the surrounding buildings to bring the block back to life.

“Our goal is to create a unique and interesting cloister of historic structures and dynamic uses that work together and within the context of the downtown area making an overall positive contribution to the redevelopment of Winslow,” he said. “Especially as it relates to the exciting work already done and in progress at the La Posada, on Route 66 and at the railroad park (on First Street). A powerful spirit lies in the creation and resurrection of such architectural gems.”

The historic block on First Street between Kinsley and Warren used to be the hub of activity in Winslow from its founding in 1880. The Breed Building on the corner of Kinsley was the first stone building in Winslow. The Woods Building, which later housed the Babbitt Brothers Mercantile Company, was the second.

Thompson, who’s also redesigning the Hubbell Trading Post and new City Hall, purchased Winslow’s oldest building and the adjacent open lot (formerly Beck & Company) last summer. He said he has finished the structure assessment and received the green light from the State Historical Preservation Office to make the extensive repairs.

Those repairs include a new roof, all new utilities, removing the floor and stabilizing the east wall, which was damaged when the Beck building was torn down. But he plans to save the unique storefront and arched windows. A fenced courtyard is planned for the corner.

The alley behind between the Babbitt Building and Winslow Theater will become a pedestrian walkway that opens up to a garden court.

“We are very much in favor of this type of people friendly consideration,” Thompson said. Many successful examples of this kind of planning exist in urban areas throughout the world.”

He also said he doesn’t have a tenant yet for the retail space or a timeline for completing the remodeling.

A brief history of 102 W. First Street

1890 - The building that would eventually house the Babbitt Brothers Mercantile Company was built as a one-story meat market by rancher J.X. Woods.

1898- It was leased to George Wolff and J.I. Krenz, who continued to operate the market but also added a second story to house the Masonic Hall making it the tallest building in town. The Masons held meetings there until 1916.

1900- Merchants Lesser & Sawyer opened shop in the building.

1902- The Babbitt brothers relocated to the building. They remained there until 1914.

1916-1925- It was leased to the city for City Hall.

2002- The building was damaged as the Winslow Fire Department used high-pressure water to knock down the adjacent Breed Building on the corner. Plans courtesy of Stephen Thompson

This plan is the design by owner Stephen Thompson to restore the facade and use the building for retail once again. The distinctive windows would be retained and a courtyard will occupy the area where the Breed Building stood until September 2002.

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