I have always been struck by how magical The Barn feels to me. This beautiful old structure has been in Castle Rock for well over 100 years…like a sentinel overseeing all the changes that have made Castle Rock one of the top places to live in the country. Pictures of the Barn dating back to 1925 show it as standing alone, at the edge of town, probably largely ignored because it wasn’t a fancy building….maybe it was even considered kind of an eyesore. I often wonder about all the people who have walked through this structure, driven through it with horse and buggy rigs and later with trucks to pick up lumber. All these people looked up into the same rafters, looked through many of the same windows and walked on the same wood floors.
As I had written earlier, once the barn was reasonably clean, it was time to start the remodel-repair phase. After making amends with my general contractor (David), the work began. David replaced the entire decaying floor on the second level and started construction on a new ‘catwalk’ crossing the South end of the building. The new staircase I needed to attach to the South-end catwalk had to be custom ordered, so I started having some of the tenants move into some of the downstairs spaces.
This part of the Barn’s transition was fun! There were many people coming and going from the barn everyday which created a lot of interest in the downtown area. I was counting on this interest and I put up a new banner sign advertising our future grand opening to stir interest even further.
Unfortunately, all the commotion stirred interest that I hadn’t anticipated. One day I drove up to the barn and my Crazy Landlord (Steven) came out to meet me. “Catherine, the Town is here and they are wondering where your permits are for all the work you are doing”. Permits? I hadn’t even thought about permits. I remember thinking that everyone was going to be surprised and pleased with the improvements to the Barn…I never considered asking permission to do the stuff I was doing. Steven continued with telling me that the Town was planning on ‘red tagging’ my project until they had proper permits on file…which could take weeks. I was stunned. My plans for a May opening seemed to be slipping away. I didn’t want to lose all the momentum that had been building over the prior few weeks.
I stared at Steven absolutely speechless for a few moments. Then, I kind of started to get mad. I told Steven that I didn’t have any permits, didn’t know I had to pull permits for this kind of work and that I was going to tell the Town that they should be pleased as punch that someone cared enough about this building to clean it up and use it properly!
Steven looked at me and said “Go home and do not dare come back here until I call you”.
I realized at that moment that I was ill equipped diplomatically to deal with small town government…so I went home.
Several hours later Steven called and gave me the “all clear” to return to the barn. I drove into town and met him at the building. I half expected him to tell me that I was going to be delayed for several weeks while he sorted out the mess I had made. Instead, Steven smiled and pointed out to me a large sign in the front window of the Barn…..a little side story here:
Steven, a tall and handsome man, was quite the lady’s man in Castle Rock. Apparently, Steven had a napkin in his back pocket from the night before that had a lady’s phone number written on it. While talking with the Town representatives, he took out the napkin from his back pocket and, on the other side from the phone number, drew a picture of the remodeling that I was intending to do in the Barn. Remember, this was 14-15 years ago in the Town of Castle Rock. Back then it was much easier to get things done than it is today. The Town looked at the napkin and proclaimed it enough of a “plan” to put on file as support for my permit. The Town left with Steven’s napkin (and his phone number).
The sign in my front window?…..my permit.