The subtitle of Athens Now is Information And Inspiration, and much of what we do is to illustrate what an amazing town is our Athens, tell the stories of its people, and celebrate our city, while giving thanks to God for all that we have and are. However, every once in awhile we need to air our dirty laundry, and this is one of those times.
Here’s the back story. Wayne Kuykendall, who has been everything from a coach at Athens Bible School, to a business man, to restorer of finances and furniture, buildings and businesses, just about 3 weeks ago now had a crucial piece of iron used in construction over 100 years ago stolen from the back of the building on the Square that houses Shoe Gallery II. Wayne’s passion for building restoration is well known in our community, and he is even interested in beautifying the back side of historical buildings, chiefly on the Square. He has secured grants from the National Historical Society, and they stringently require that if you use their money, you need to use period supplies to do your renovating.
Fifteen years ago Wayne purchased two pieces of cast iron, (made somewhere between 1890 and 1910,) that function as thresholds and the basis for outdoor entry ways. They get secured to iron posts, and he was just getting ready to pour concrete to put it all together, when the fellow helping him called to ask where the other threshold was.
Half-jokingly he told me that the thresholds “have never been separated from birth, and the little one is crying out for the bigger one.” We found more things to laugh about regarding the situation, as one must when things go wrong, or one goes nuts. I gave him some leads as to the historical building restoration markets in Seattle, he had found a place in Mississippi that had something that was “close, but no banana,” and he looked at me and said, “We can’t proceed. This stuff may just look like beat up iron to someone else, but it’s irreplaceable.”
He is even offering a reward. The question is, why should he have to? The iron’s worth is nearly non-existent as far as salvage is concerned, and immeasurable as far as the project is concerned. Who would thieve a threshold, and why? If you are a druggie, this is not going to work like copper wire or man hole covers to help you cop your next high. If you are someone who cares about using period materials for your own historical restoration period and need a threshold, Wayne has two more that won’t work for this particular project, and maybe he’ll sell them to you. If you have something against Wayne, then step up and deal with it biblically like a man, (or woman, if that applies.) But whoever you are, give the man back his threshold, let him taste of the fruit of his labors, (which benefit you, by the way, by making Athens more beautiful,) and I as a publisher can go back to touting Athens’ “terrific-ness.” Thank you.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner