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Planning for roof project unlocks Meriden building’s hidden history

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MERIDEN — Gallery 53 is in the process of planning for a new roof to help prevent water from leaking into the building.

The roof committee held its first meeting last week to discuss funding. There is no timeline yet for construction.

“If we go through some grant funding processes that can add some time to the process,” said Dave Cooley, who led the meeting. “If we were able to raise enough money more quickly without going through grants ... then we could do it more quickly.” 

The roof committee consists of Cooley, Bruce Burchsted, Brenda Fazzino, Paul Butkus, and Sandy Goodyear and Christine Webster from Gallery 53. 

The goal is to get funding for a new roof instead of renovating the current one. 

“The new roof would be the preferred option rather than a fix now and then a new roof later,” Cooley said. 

The committee is also considering solar panels as part of the project.

“Are there some programs out there where solar would make sense, we’re not sure yet completely,” Cooley said. “We’re just getting going.” 

A recent leak prompted the committee to visit the fourth floor of the building at 53 Colony St. 

“We knew (the fourth floor) was there, it’s just not something they used that often because they don’t need to,” Cooley said. “... The only way to get through it is through the roof of the elevator. That’s not something you’re going to do everyday.” 

When the roof committee inspected the fourth floor they found some furniture left over from when the building was home to the Meriden Furniture Company. The items were donated to the Meriden Historical Society. 

“This building was originally a furniture store back in the late 1800s I believe,” said Webster, president of Gallery 53. “So there’s ledgers, lots of ledgers … It’s interesting because you can go through and recognize names from around town, so it’s fun to look at.”  

The Meriden Furniture Company opened in the building in 1893.  

“They have a fine stock of goods and will sell low on cash and credit. Everything is new and reliable,” reads a story in the Dec. 7, 1893 edition of The Journal. 

Meriden Furniture Company - 1893Meriden Furniture Company - 1893 Thu, Dec 7, 1893 – 1 · The Meriden Weekly Republican (Meriden, Connecticut) · Newspapers.com

In 1953, Herman Gold, an experienced furniture businessman, became the new owner of the company. In 1965, the Meriden Furniture Company closed its doors. The Music Box opened in the former furniture shop in 1966. 

Meriden Furniture - 1966Meriden Furniture - 1966 Fri, Sep 30, 1966 – 15 · The Journal (Meriden, Connecticut) · Newspapers.com


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