Treasure in old homes | Living

I’ve always wondered if walls really could talk, what my 90-year-old house might have to say.

Over the years we have had to renovate and restore many things in our home. Some projects were not so bad, while others probably left my home wanting to thank me for giving it a makeover.One of those times was when I stripped wallpaper from the half bath. Seven layers later, I could actually pinpoint each decade just from the wallpaper prints. The ’70s look was not a pleasant one.

Fort Wayne’s neighborhoods are filled with historic homes whose walls can tell some interesting stories. And it’s not only the walls, but the items that make a home, well, a home. Staircases that have been walked by generations of residents. Oak entryways or heavy wooden doors that have been entered or exited hundreds of times. Ornate fixtures or handcrafted pieces that have seen special events and family memories.

Chuck Springer makes it his business to know about these items. Inside his business at 1514 St. Joseph Blvd. are hundreds of years of history waiting to be explored and reused again.

Springer and his wife, Lyndsey, own Reclaimed Fort Wayne. It is a new name and new location for what was the Wood Shack, which was founded as an architectural salvage company many years ago. Now the Springers are continuing the saving and preserving of pieces and parts of the past.

Springer says the opportunity to take over the Wood Shack fell into the couple’s lap. He was working full time at a bank and found out that the building that contained the Wood Shack had been bought and there were plans for other uses for the space. The Springers were able to buy the contents inside the Wood Shack and began their own expansion

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Museum renovation aims to create treasure trove

HARLINGEN — For decades, the two old buildings formed the Harlingen Historical Museum, standing along the courtyard of the Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum.

Five years ago, city leaders envisioned reviving its exhibits to tell the story of a town that rose from the White Horse Desert.

Now, the money’s rolling out to help preserve parts of the city’s legacy.

The Rio Grande Valley Museum Association has raised $119,900 to complete the five-year renovation of two buildings that once housed the Harlingen Air Base’s police squadron and brig.

The project includes upgrading exhibits to tell the story of the city’s evolution from a rough-and-tumble railroad stop to an agricultural center, Joel Humphries, the city’s arts and entertainment director, said yesterday.

As part of the project, the city will recognize the residents whose donations will help turn a vision into a historical treasure trove.

“The idea is to completely revamp all the exhibits to make them more pertinent to people today — for young people to relate,” Humphries said. “Our goal is to tell our story of Harlingen and the surrounding area — to tell it in a more compelling way.”

Exhibits will showcase the city’s development from a railroad stop known as Six Shooter Junction to its role as home of the Harlingen Air Base, which closed in 1962.

“This will focus on the history of the area,” Humphries said. “As you’re guided through, you’ll see the area before it was developed, through the history of commercial agriculture to the influence of the military.”

Donors’ mural

The $300,000 project includes the creation of a mural that will honor the donors committed to preserving the city’s rich history.

The 8-foot by 20-foot mural will stand in front of the buildings featuring donors’ names engraved on acrylic plaques in the form of

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