Monday, December 08, 2008

The Easy Way

I noticed Saturday that someone had ripped the modern covering off an old shop on Union Avenue, revealing this facade underneath.

Easy Way Exposed

Very beautiful.

But will the owners appreciate this beauty as they renovate it, or will they unnecessarily cover it with some other inferior facade, as their neighbors recently did?

This is what they shops next door used to look like, with a faux facade similar to that removed from the Easy Way #6 building.

This is what they looked like underneath, after the fake was removed.

Even unrenovated and blocked by a tractor-trailer, you can tell they're classic midtown storefronts. Notice the detailing on the top left.

Unfortunately, the owners didn't stop while they were ahead. They covered it, again:

Union Avenue Storefronts Post-Renovation


We've recently seen the same metamorphosis at some shops at Madison and McLean.
  1. Bland 60's era covering removed.
  2. Nice original brickwork exposed.
  3. Bland 00's era covering imposed.
Boring facelifts both, they've turned the banal into the unique into the banal.

Here's hoping that back on Union they'll STOP when they're already so much ahead.

Heed the sign!

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Blogger Memphis Heritage said...

I am glad you posted this! I noticed it the other night that it was different but didn't see the Easy Way sign. Love it!

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Adam Simpson said...

Just like when the Toad Hall people covered the old facade of the building @ central and cooper with that yellow paint a few years back...double yuck!

9:44 AM  
Blogger NICK A. DAVIS said...

Hey - how was the meeting? Did you attend?

8:21 PM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

I didn't think about the paint at Toad Hall because at one time someone had mentioned flattening that corner for redundant suburban corner vending. So paint seemed okay. Even in these cases, the buildings are still there, underneath the stuccish material. But the originals are so nice...

Nick, I couldn't attend either. Memphis Flyer did a story on it a few days ago though.

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Adam Simpson said...

As I remember it, Toad Hall painted over some original vintage artwork on the facade. I think vintage advertising (like the cool easy way sign) can be as much of a cultural asset as the actual physical facade, but I suppose it's the classic preservationist's dilemma -- to what extent am I allowed to impose my aesthetic sense on others?

9:41 AM  
Blogger Naomi Van Tol said...

Ah, the irony of the unappreciated Easy Way... I hope they'll keep those awesome transom windows at least.

The real crime committed by the Toad Hall painters is the mural on the side. That hideous demon-toad wants to steal my soul.

I dream about it sometimes.

3:51 PM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

those transom windows are really nice.

re: toad hall, I didn't know they had painted over the original signs.

re: toad man, I think someone(s) on the Goner message board made a different visual analogy.

11:47 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

I took this same photo of the uncovered Easy Way signs too. Really cool to see that under there - who knew? :)

9:46 PM  
Blogger Memphis Heritage said...

I remember the face that was on the side of Toad Hall. A lady with black hair and rosy cheeks. I think that place was a soda fountain at one time. My mom worked there in the early 1950s if I am not mistaken.

9:14 PM  
Blogger Naomi Van Tol said...

That was no lady, that was Secondhand Rose!

8:06 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

I saw this last week and had to pull over just to take a closer look. Beautiful old building...I couldn't believe that was what had been covered up all these years. I'm sad to hear that it as since been covered back up (I haven't been out much during this dreary weather week...ughhh). Grrrr @ not appreciating the art of old buildings.

5:31 PM  
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