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‘Three cheers for George!’

‘Three cheers for George!’

To the editor:

The folks at Salem Preservation are sending out “three cheers and an attaboy” to the George Istocki family!

You may wonder, who is this man called George? It seems that several years ago George purchased the old Salem Sport Shop building to bring in the new Eurogyro restaurant. This building has been an anchor for downtown Salem since the early 1860’s. It was home to many businesses and professions the residents found familiar. The building was known as the Anderson block.

In its early days it was the home and office of Dr. James Anderson and a grocery store. In 1876 it was also the home of the Masonic Temple before they built their new home in the Masonic building on the southeast corner of State and Lundy. (The current Temple was dedicated in 1923.) More recently it has been the business location of Floding & Reynard’s drugstore, John Borelli’s Salem Sport Shop and Jay Gamble’s barbershop to name a few that have called this High Italianate style building home.

After a “rocky” start trying to keep the state of Ohio happy and getting the correct architect to deal with historic properties, things started to roll. George & Co. did some magnificent work to uphold the historic finishings that were still intact.

Among other things, George brought the pressed tin ceilings that were in the upstairs ballroom, down to be seen on the ceiling of the restaurant’s main floor. They brought back the beautiful woodwork that can be plainly seen throughout the main dining area. Eurogyro was in business and going strong. In the short time they were open they created a very large following.

Then “the roof caved in,” so to speak. For various reasons, architectural deficiencies started to pop up and accumulate. The building had to be vacated for safety concerns. It seems to all those local citizens watching from afar, that this project seemed to be going nowhere fast.

Everyone should keep in mind that working with insurance companies, multiple state agencies, architects and other “officials” is not like watching “Bewitched.” You cannot just twitch your nose and make it all come together! It takes time, lots of time.

You can be sure the Istocki family is not happy with the situation. They are doing the best they can, given the circumstances. So the next time you are driving through (or around) downtown Salem and you want to say a few words, just say, “three cheers for George!”

Preserving Salem’s history, one building at a time! Here’s to a better Salem!

Salem Preservation Officers & Board

David K. Schwartz, President

Keith Berger, Vice-President

Jennifer Brown, Secretary

Carolyn Caldwell, Treasurer

John Gilbert, Director

Ginger Grilli, Director

Elaine Kothera, Director

Arlene Schwartz, Director

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