FROM CHILDHOOD AWE GREW A DESIRE TO RESTORE
“My father and I stopped at Mr. Rutland’s pawn shop on our way to a dove shoot to buy shotgun shells. Standing at the foot of the front steps, the post office (TM) was the largest thing I’d ever seen. Somehow I made it to the top of the steps and froze at the revolving door. Dad realized he’d lost me and came out to carry me inside.
The Old Post Office (TM) is currently owned Jeff Davis, IV. As related in the anecdote above, Mr. Davis's fascination with the building began when he was just 5 or 6 years old. Years later, in December 2011, Davis realized his dream, and acquired the Old Post Office (TM).
Once we were in the lobby with the marble and the huge domed ceilings, I remember being shocked. When we got back in the truck, I said, ‘Daddy, that’s going to be my building one day.’ He laughed, but he didn’t discourage me.” Aided by original blueprints and 1,500 pages of century-old correspondence from the National Archives, Davis and his team met the restoration challenge, restoring and replacing original fixtures and removing added walls, including a second story courtroom added during Prohibition.
Davis and his team restored the beautiful revolving door that captured his attention as a child. The marble floor just inside the door is indented with the steps of the generations of Dubliners who have passed through the door.
Flooded with light
With the courtroom removed, the lobby is lit by natural light. The original blueprints, recovered from the building's attic, are displayed under archival glass. Davis restored the few remaining post office (TM) boxes, and collected additional period-appropriate extras to complete the original bank of boxes facing the west lobby. Luckily, despite numerous prior modifications, original light fixtures, vaults, and even eletrical conduits remain.
Stripped of many coats of white paint, the restored arched windows shine as a testiment to the importance of historical preservation and restoration.
On April 26, 2013,
the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation awarded The Old Post Office (TM) the Marguerite Williams Award for Excellence in Restoration.
Davis has moved his Information Technology contracting firm, Alterra Networks, to the main and top floors of The Old Post Office (TM). A colocation center is housed in the 4,500 square foot basement. Colocation centers are secure facilities with backup power generators and massive cooling systems that house hardware and software systems for clients. Most users of a colocation center desire to have a secure offsite backup of their critical data. Geographic separation is also a plus – a firm in Savannah, for example, would want its backup data out of the hurricane zone for disaster recovery purposes. Entities that have outgrown the current IT facilities on their campuses can also benefit from relocating assets that need to be retained but not front line production critical in a colocation center.
Davis explains, “I have a client who is looking at a six figure capital expansion project. He was about to take space from another department in his facility to expand his IT shop. Besides displacing another department, he was going to have to purchase generators, battery backups, cooling systems, network electronics and cabling, and staff it all when he was done. Now he gets to dodge an unpopular capital project by locating his equipment in the Old Post Office (TM) for a monthly fee. That’s a win-win in my book.” There are so many winners in this project. A 100 year old landmark has been saved, restored, and put back right for the next century. A local business has expanded and been assisted by a City and Downtown Development Authority that is passionate and committed to making businesses succeed downtown. Downtown Dublin will gain 15 new residents and an established business. The community banks that fund Davis and Alterra Networks have a solid project to finance.
“ To have the Old Post Office (TM) look like 1912 upstairs and 2112 downstairs is amazing”, says Davis. “We’ve just been very blessed…there is no place else I’d rather be.”