Canton advocate takes on historic preservation effort
by Kristal Dixon
kdixon@cherokeetribune.com
September 09, 2012 04:04 PM | 2316 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Grant Design in Downtown Canton is completely restoring the existing windows in the former Galt Building. A local contractor is going window-by-window to repair and repaint each of the 90-plus windows in the building.<br>Cherokee Tribune/Todd Hull
Grant Design in Downtown Canton is completely restoring the existing windows in the former Galt Building. A local contractor is going window-by-window to repair and repaint each of the 90-plus windows in the building.
Cherokee Tribune/Todd Hull
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CANTON — A local business owner and downtown advocate has embarked on a project to help preserve the character of one of Canton’s most notable buildings.

Bill Grant, president and CEO of Grant Design Collaborative, is restoring all the existing windows in the city’s Galt Building, which starts at the corner of East Marietta and East Main Street and mostly runs along East Marietta.

Grant said he began restoring all 113 windows in the building after he discovered they were beginning to deteriorate.

The chairman of the Canton Main Street program’s board of directors for the city, Grant said he couldn’t find any windows to match the existing ones of the building, a large three-story red brick structure with tan colored brick front and side facade.

He also noted each of the windows were custom made and were all a little different one way or another.

“It’s been quite a massive undertaking,” he said.

Grant has spent over $30,000 on the project, which he said he expects to be finished within the next couple of weeks.

This weekend, crews will use a sky lift to restore the windows of the building along East Marietta Street.

While Grant noted the project has been a “costly endeavor,” he said the initiative has been “worth it.”

“I certainly think that it enhances the value of the building and enhances the value of downtown,” he added.

The site of the building originally contained a two-story drug store owned and operated by the Johnston family.

That building was torn down in 1925 and the three-story building that stands in its place was built by the Galt family.

The corner, ground floor store was first occupied by Lowen’s Drugstore.

Worth Lathem Jewelry and later Key’s Jewelry rented the store front on the East Marietta side of the building.

The upper two floors consisted of residences and medical offices.

Grant purchased the building in 1997 from Harry Babcock and his business has occupied the top two floors since.

The restoration project on the first floor has been completed, he said.

Stefanie Joyner, executive director of the Cherokee County Historical Society, said the organization “applauds” Grant’s work on the project; his project not only adds energy efficient windows to the building but also “preserves the historic character of the building.”

“We understand that maintaining historic buildings can be time consuming and expensive, but the work Bill is doing now is cost-efficient and will preserve this building for another generation,” she said. “He is setting the standard for the type of renovation work we want on Main Street.”

Grant said he also hopes he can spark a trend for existing and new building owners in downtown Canton.

He alluded to the Main Street program’s facade grant initiative that could help building owners improve exteriors of their buildings as a tool to enhance the area’s aesthetics.

“It certainly encourages other people to look at their building to see what can be done to improve their facades,” he said.
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