At 9:30am this morning, a young girl with a driver’s permit careened into architect Kathleen Kinan’s building at 197 Grant Street. It was back in 2012 when Kinan restored the building, creating two residential units upstairs and an office for her practice on the first floor. At the time, Kinan stated to BRO, “Fortunately the bones of the house are strong, and there are some fascinating building elements that have been left intact – original plank and wood walls and floors in parts of the house, beautiful old porcelain sinks and tubs… “There are surprises everywhere you look,” she told me. “I found treasures under the plaster and the paint. “Now it’s a mix of old and new. I retained as much of the 1860’s vintage as possible, and then added modern amenities, while paying respect to the house. There are awesome imperfections here. This mixed-use house has tons of character and will be a great addition to Grant Street.”
Well, it’s a good thing that the structure has such “strong bones”, because, according to Kinan, the building is salvageable. “If she had hit the facade two feet over, in either direction, she would have destroyed the structural supports, which would have damaged the lintel, and then we would have a real problem,” explained Kinan. “As luck would have it, we avoided catastrophe.”
According to witnesses, the car was heading down Grant Street, when the driver swerved to “avoid a bus.” After swiping the car of Fred Daniel, owner of Freddy J’s, and narrowly missing a large tree, the driver went smashing through the storefront. Nobody was hurt during the incident. Kinan stated that the driver hit the structure perfectly. While it looks terrible, it could have been so much worse. Even the upstairs tenants can get in and out, because their door was miraculously left intact. Kinan will be propping up the lintel, to ensure that nothing else gives way, and then she will order an emergency enclosure for the building. She is also hoping to salvage the historic oak door that has been around to tell a lot of stories, including this one, where it looks as if it might have barely missed being fodder for a landfill.
Kinan is reassuring us that the building will one day look better than ever, because thankfully she is insured for the damage. Let’s just hope that the driver was also insured.