a unique opportunity to see whatís going on above these
buildings," said one of the approximately 250 people who took
the tour. "Otherwise weíd never know what was up there."
love the uniqueness of it," Paulie Elder said of her home in
the Lauer building, with its exposed brick walls and angled kitchen
unique," said one of the men on the tour when looking at a wall
in the den of Larry and Bette Steffensí luxurious home above their
Sangamon Street businesses.
was too unique to pass up," Judi Orr said of the former Second
Baptist Church that is now her Lincoln home.
visitors started the Saturday afternoon tour at an "apartment
in progress" at 113Ĺ S. Sangamon, where Steve and Susi Fuhrer
are in the middle of creating a two-bedroom unit. The rooms are
already framed in, and visitors could see the floor plan on a sketch
posted by Steve, who is doing most of the work himself.
with the two bedrooms, the apartment will have a U-shaped kitchen, a
20-by-25-foot living room, a big walk-in closet and laundry
been wanting to do this for three years," said Steve, who is a
member of the Lincoln City Council. "I hope to have it finished
in a couple of months."
likes the view from the front window both day and night. In the
daytime, he can see the mural on the back wall of Neal Tire, which
shows storefronts on Sangamon Street the way they looked many years
ago. At night, he likes seeing the lighted dome of the Logan County
in progress and work already done were both on view at the Lauer
Building, being renovated by Dale Bassi and Larry Crisafulli. At 201
S. Sangamon, three apartments and commercial space are already
finished, while at 205 three efficiency units, more commercial space
and a laundry room for all the tenants are under construction.
efficiency unit on display Saturday will have a kitchen area, small
bedroom, bath and living space below and a sleeping loft, bath and
closet space above. Exposed brick walls, an open stairway and
distressed hardwood floors give it a contemporary feeling.
[Photo by Joan Crabb]
floors, exposed brick walls, interesting built-in features and lots
of light were also features of the two completed units in the Lauer
moved from a house to this apartment, but it still feels like a
house. So much light comes in," said Jodi Elder, who lives in
the front apartment with her husband, Dave, and three children. The
apartment has a sizable kitchen-family room, a living room and three
donít use the car much now," she added. She can walk to work
and to nearby businesses. The children can ride their bicycles to
the library, a favorite stop for the family.
Abbey, acting as tour guide, always knows what time it is because
she can see the courthouse clock. She also likes listening to the
nearby church bells.
love the uniqueness of it," said Paulie Elder, Jodieís
mother-in-law, who lives in the back apartment. The kitchen area is
separated from the living room by an angled wall that doesnít
quite reach the ceiling. Today the top of this wall is decorated
with greens and Christmas lights.
construction is sound and itís quiet here," Paulie said.
"Weíre close to what we need, the library and so many
businesses. And there are nice parks in the city we can walk
to." Itís convenient for Paulieís husband, Alan, too, who
operates Elder Cycle on the first floor of the building.
contrast to the contemporary feel of these apartments, the luxurious
home of Bette and Larry Steffens at 123Ĺ S. Sangamon is filled with
antiques and art objects that reflect their interest in many faraway
places, especially Italy. Once a warehouse, the Steffensí new home
gives them 4,500 square feet of living space on the second floor, a
500-square-foot library on the first floor and another 4,500 square
feet in the basement (not on the tour), which holds Larryís
workshop and a workout room.
the second floor, about 2,000 square feet is an open living area,
including a kitchen, room for both formal and informal dining, a
fireplace, and comfortable places to sit and relax. Three bedrooms,
a den with another fireplace and an Egyptian hot tub room are also
on the first floor.
[to top of second column in this
[Photo by Joan Crabb]
wall behind the stairway leading down to the library brought many
comments from visitors attracted by its unique appearance. Because
the wall itself was impossible to repair smoothly, Larry used scraps
of tin to make it look like an ancient ruin, and Bette painted it
new home is "cozy, warm and close to our businesses,"
121Ĺ S. Sangamon, up the same stairway, the Steffenses had their
bed-and-breakfast suite on display as well. The bed is enclosed like
an Arabian tent, using 150 yards of fabric. The tin ceiling dates
back to 1858, five years after Abraham Lincoln christened the town.
the railroad tracks at 128 S. Chicago St., visitors could see two
light, airy efficiency apartments owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ivan Ray.
Two more will be completed in a few months, Ray said, and a laundry
facility is already available for the tenants.
apartments on the tour were already furnished, even decorated for
Christmas, with futons in the living rooms and kitchens with tables
set for dining. Mrs. Ray said the apartments could be rented
furnished or unfurnished, whatever the tenants wish.
has been working on the apartments for about a year and hopes to
have the other two ready by spring. The tour gave him names of even
more renters to put on his list, he said.
many people would drive by an empty church and visualize it as a
comfortable living space, but when Judi Orr saw the former Second
Baptist Church building at 829 Broadway, she did just that.
drove by it. I saw a big sturdy stone structure and liked the looks
of it. I went inside and liked it even more. And I particularly
liked the challenge of redoing it. It was too unique to pass
[Photo by Joan Crabb]
and Bob moved in during February of this year and are very pleased
with their new Lincoln home. The soaring ceiling and fine stained
glass windows give it an open and also a serene feeling.
though it is on a main street in Lincoln, itís peaceful,"
Judi said. "Also, itís close to downtown, the bank, the post
office, the IGA and the Depot." The Orrs are owners of the
is the loveliest time to see the windows," she added.
"They reflect all colors, and they change with the light."
She believes the windows are probably original, put in when the
church was built in 1915.
who took the tour were pleased that Main Street Lincoln gave them
the chance to see unique living spaces. "What a wonderful
opportunity for the people in town to tour the living quarters at
the top," said Shirley Dittus.
Rust also thought it was a good idea. "Lincoln has so many
possibilities, and itís too bad people donít come up with more
ideas to promote it."
Bassi, head of the Economic Restructuring Committee, who organized
the tour, and Wendy Bell, director of Main Street Lincoln, were
pleased with the turnout.
ĎLiving above the storeí is an idea thatís coming back,"
Bassi said. "It used to be typical of all small towns, when
store owners lived in quarters upstairs." Bassi himself once
lived above his dadís grocery store in Winona.
of our mission at Main Street Lincoln is to bring people downtown,
to give them an idea what itís like now and what it could be like.
live here because of lower rent and convenience. The more people who
move here, the more likely new businesses will open, such as cafes,
convenience stores and other service businesses. Thereís a lot
more living space downtown than people think."
here for an article and related links posted before the tour.]