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One year later - new life!

April 4, 2024

By: Katherine Trowbridge

One year after the April fools winds that brought the devastating roof collapse, new life has sprung forth in the former American Legion Building, now known as the C-Street Vault project.

What could have been the ultimate demise of this historic building, turned into hope and new life for not only the building but the community as well.

Well over 100 people toured the North Franklin Heritage Museum’s C-Street Vault project on Monday, April 1st. Museum volunteers stated, “We lost count a while ago,” unsure of the final tally.

“We’ve been pleasantly surprised,” Connie Koch said, as Shelly Harper added, “Honesty, we didn’t expect this many people.”

Along with Koch and Harper, Chris and Becky Eskildsen and Amy Thompson led the day’s tours showcasing the progress and sharing the vision for what’s to come. Young and old alike made their way up the 31 steps to the top floor “hotel suites” named after local Veterans and American Legion members. The studs are in place, outlining the rooms that are to come with posters displayed introducing each suite and its Veteran(s). To the left of the staircase, you will find the Steve Hailey foyer which will feature comfortable seating, a desk, and coffee bar. To the right of the staircase, is the first of four suites named after John Cambell, Ludwig Grassl, William Hoffman, and the Harper room honoring a number of Veterans from the family.

The main floor will feature a bar, named after Claude Odom, and dining room, named after Jesse L. Colley, for the future cafe/restaurant.

Outside, there will also be seating in the grass side area named after Harold Feathers Thompson.

The homage to the Veterans that called the building home since 1946 can be seen in the names of the rooms and the details being put into the building’s restoration.

Many also made the trek down the much smaller staircase to the stonewalled basement that is said to have once been a bookstore. A secondary basement area may have been the illustrious “speakeasy” where locals would go to secretly drink during prohibition days.

Harper shared, “we are working our way from the top down.” Getting the roof back on the building last fall was a huge accomplishment and so much more work has been done inside thanks to many donations. Donations and volunteers are always appreciated.

The museum shared that they are looking for any photos of the building (inside or out) that may be floating around out there. Even if the building isn’t the focus of a photo but is in it. If you have any you could share, please let the museum know.

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