Preserving The Past
FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WBRC) - Jerry Clifton never really intended to become known as a restorer of old buildings but when he discovered what he now calls The Lofts on Gault in Downtown Fort Payne it seemed as if it was meant to be. Take a trip up the old stairs into a building being given new life.
“We came up the stairs. It was just literally little pig trails that you could walk through here because there had been a fire probably thirty years ago. There was nothing on the walls. It was just exposed brick. It was just a mess,” recalls Jerry.
It is impossible to walk into this building and walk up these stairs without being surprised, maybe shocked a little. They lead to The Lofts on Gault.
“When I started looking out the windows and looking this way to downtown and looking back this way to Lookout Mountain and then back up this way, I knew this was the building I wanted to get to do these lofts. This building was built in 1914 by a Judge Haralson. This building was on the National and State Historical Registry.”
“And so, we started with my contractor working to restore this building back like what it was a hundred years ago.”
The restoration to grandeur even includes a baby grand piano, and Jerry explains how it certainly fits, “I knew that I had to have something big and so I got to thinking and thought of a baby grand piano and so I started looking trying to find one that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, and I found a lady in Birmingham whose mom had passed away earlier. She just said, ‘Look I’ll give you the piano if you’ll just come get it.’ So that’s how it ended up here.”
“Basically, for anyone to rent one of these lofts all you’d need to do is bring your toothbrush and your clothes and you’d be ready to go. Downtown Fort Payne is coming back alive. There’s no question about that. There’s a lot of talented people here in Fort Payne so I just think that really the sky’s the limit on what can actually happen here.”
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