Building gets facelift on Pilot Point Square
One of the oldest buildings in Pilot Point and Denton County is soon going to look like it did when it was new almost 150 years ago.
The building at 114 W. Main St. that houses The Purple Door is under the care of Custom Masonry Design owner Jack Hardy, who is determined to restore the exterior of the building to look like it did when it was first built.
“The trick is to make it consistently inconsistent, like it was before,” Jack said of the job. “… The last thing you want to do is make it look like it was built yesterday, or even 100 years ago. You’ve got to keep that 150-year look.”
Jack, who loves restoring historical structures, has had the help of his uncle, John Hardy, who also owns his own masonry business.
In fact, out of John’s 14 siblings and him, the seven boys have masonry businesses. Jack is one of five cousins who followed the tradition and went into masonry.
The structure they’re working on at the corner of Main and Washington is one of the oldest brick structures in Denton County.
“Using brick made locally, John Merchant in 1872 erected on the northeast corner of the Square, the first brick building in Denton County. Soon all the business houses around the Square were replaced with brick buildings,” according to the Pilot Point Chamber of Commerce website.
Unearthing the brick from beneath a film of former mortar patch jobs has taken longer than anticipated because of the rainy weather.
“They took the mortar … years ago, and just smeared all over the face, so what we’re trying to do is bring the face back out,” John said.
The chemical process is called efflorescence.
It’s similar to when an art historian restores a painting or an archeologist conducting a dig, “just a little bit rougher,” John said.
“We’re using grinders and chisels and hammers … and grout bags, where they’ll use a brush and a pick,” John said.
Generally, the men would use a lift to reach the highest portions of the edifice, but that option wasn’t available for the side that runs parallel with Washington Street because it serves as Business 377 and is a TxDOT roadway.
Instead, Jack assembled and disassembled metal and wooden scaffolding to reach those areas.
When they move to the front, they’ll be able to use a lift.
In fact, they’ll have to use one then, building owner Bobbie Jezek said, to work around the awning out front.
She has been working on restoring the building since she purchased the building in 2008, and she credits the Pilot Point Economic Development Corporation grant program with helping her do the majority of that work.
“This is so expensive,” Jezek said. “When you start doing stuff over $20 grand and they’ll at least match it to $10, that’s fantastic.”
This is the third grant she’s received for improving the exterior of the building.
“This was the last thing … because that’s something I’ve been wanting to do, but it was the most expensive,” she said.
Finding Jack was the final piece she needed to move forward.
Jezek said she’s incredibly grateful to “the EDC for [the chance] to have grants like that that will help owners who do stuff like this.”