I don’t work for the city. I get asked that a lot. I don’t. I know it’s not going to help when I ask if you’ve read the City’s latest quarterly newsletter. I can’t help it. I’m a geek.
Actually, the newsletter really isn’t all that geeky. The newsletter is really very good and this last quarterly had two things that were really interesting plus a very interesting trivia question. I won’t spoil that for you but I would just like to “put it out there” that it would be nice to have more info on the answer.
I subscribe to the newsletter, called the Town Center Connection, so it comes to my e-mail address. I think that this link will get you to the newsletter but I’ve had a working link stop inexplicably before. If that link doesn’t get there, this one will go straight to the pdf. If you have to try to find it manually, go to the City web site, click on “Departments”, in the Planning Department section click to go to the overview page, under “Quick Links” click on “Town Center Study” and then scroll down to the bottom of the page. Whew! Just subscribe. It’s easier when it comes to your email.
Both of the articles that I liked were written by our Historic Preservation Officer, Guy Giersch. On the last page of the pdf, on the right hand side (marked page 5), there is the article “In the Spotlight: Diggin’ It, 507 N. Tennessee St”. Tracey Collins, the owner of Diggin’ It, was surprised and pleased when I forwarded her the link.
I think most people know that Diggin’ It was previously the old Greyhound bus station before Tracey funkified it. Now it is a garden-centered boutique complete with plants, garden accessories, jewelry, antiques, Tibetan prayer flags … just all kinds of things. It is a happy place. A very busy zen garden. Very busy.
I had not realized that it used to be a gas station before it was the bus station. It seems so big inside. Mr. Giersch also made an observation that I thought was fantastic about how Diggin’ It builds on a history of positive energy. You’ll have to read his article for the full insight but it makes sense that Tracey would be drawn to this place. A lot of that happy feeling that infuses Diggin’ It is pure Tracey but there is something more that the building itself is offering. Maybe it could be a legacy from its past.
There’s a class at Diggin’ It this weekend for making tabletop birdbaths, Saturday, 10 to 1. She’s also got a ton of flowers. I’d been looking for a foxglove, always wanted one, and she has some. I’ve got dibs on one of the white ones but they can be pretty hard to find so, if you’re into gardening, this is the place to check for that kind of stuff.
The other interesting article is “As A Matter of Fact: Born and Bread in McKinney”. It’s on the second page of the pdf, on the right hand side (labeled page 7). Mr. Giersch turned his focus to the building that sits on the corner of Heard and Tennessee. What was neat about this article was not only the history but the fact that he made me see the building for the first time. I mean really see it. I’d always thought that the building was unattractive. I wouldn’t have protested if someone wanted to replace it. I’m so glad he had a picture of how it used to look. I never saw the brickwork at the top before or the brick diamond shapes over the windows. Now, I see its beauty and would be upset to lose it. Now I can see it as it could be.
According to the article, from 1920 up until the 1970’s this building was a bakery. First Knott’s Bakery and then Finney’s Fresh Bread Bakery. I can imagine the smell of fresh bread wafting through the neighborhood because I grew up visiting my grandmother in Dallas’s “M” streets when Mrs. Baird’s was still baking nearby. There never was a better smell. Combine that with the sounds of the First United Methodist Church’s bells ringing, the distant sound of the train coming from just past McDonald and the visual beauty of the houses here and I think I’d be in heaven. Or a Norman Rockwell painting.
As you can tell by the picture, the building is not living up to its full potential. A window is broken. There was a fire on the other side that gutted a small convenience store called Tres Amigos. When it burned, everyone said a downtown Mexican restaurant burned. I never could figure out why. My husband and I went to the Tres Amigos for conveniences. I know what it was. It was not a restaurant. In fact, it had closed. Their hours had become erratic so I never went any more but my husband assures me it was closed. There was a little taqueria on the side but they looked relatively unscathed, compared to the convenience store portion. I don’t know if they are still there.
When Diggin’ It opened up down the street, I had started watching this building because I figured it stood a good chance of becoming home to new boutiques which I think that the Diggin’ It crowd will attract. At the time, it was leasing space for $6 a square foot. I just did a quick search for it now and didn’t find anything. That doesn’t mean it isn’t listed somewhere. It’s just not easy to find within 30 seconds right now and I’m lazy. I imagine it needs some major TLC.
I hope that efforts like Mr. Giersch’s article, and maybe this post, will help to spark interest in properties like this one. I am excited by the revitalization that I see going on in the area and, now that I know what that property can be, I’m eager to see someone with means make it a reality.
Another bread bakery would be nice, but probably unrealistic. I’d say a gym but there is a little gym opening on Kentucky Street soon, I think. A laser tag place … wouldn’t that be cool. We have a lot of kids the right age (and I’m not half bad at that myself). There’s tons of parking, so there’s a lot of possibilities. An independent craft store that caters to the arts we actually have here in a way that the big guys just can’t? Try shopping for pottery supplies at Michael’s. Arrgh.
Isn’t it nice to have possibilities?
Until next time,