Probably the best sight to greet folks downtown these days is the rank of strong steel girders rising on our main street. This is the site of the great Mercantile fire of New Year’s 2015.
At last, something uplifting has replaced the chain-link fence and the empty lot between the Rustic Pine Tavern and the hardware store parking lot.
The new structure looks reassuringly solid, like a resounding answer to the midwinter devastation and the crumbling relic it destroyed.
Project manager Reg Phillips says he expects work to continue steadily this month, and we should shortly begin seeing a new facade. He hopes the front side will be looking good by the end of the month. The facade will be a mix of materials: wood, tin, and faux stone.
The object, as with all new construction here, is to have the exterior completed before heavy winter sets in (although we rarely get enough snow in town to make a buck-and-rail sag, let alone dent a roof). Here’s what the view across the street from the Rustic should look like, more or less, by the second anniversary of the fire.
Insurance money wouldn’t pay for a two-story structure, as originally planned. I think this looks more old-town western (and less like Jackson) anyway.
Who’s going to fill all those shop windows? I’ll update when I know anything.
Meanwhile, another sweet facade has appeared in town, just west of the SuperFoods. It’s a face-lift on the boring old brown box that used to be the Visitor Center (which has relocated to the Headwaters).
It’s amazing what some stained planks and a front porch can do to a place! According to my sources, it’s going to become an ice cream and snack shop that also sells souvenirs.
(Anybody want to create some beautiful new Dubois branded T-shirts?)
© Lois Wingerson, 2016
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