He then made an angelic praise of Hallelujah.
“It was one of those moments,” he said with a smile.
Dan Mayzum, a historic preservation architect, recently purchased the former Carnegie Library in Middletown.
It was a short courtship.
Last month — 13 months after seeing the library for the first time — Mayzum bought the building and property, appraised at $95,000, for $5,000. Some consider his task impossible: Turning a dilapidated building into a useful property. There certainly is a track record of these type of unsuccessful projects throughout Middletown and beyond.
You only have to look at the former Manchester Inn, Sonshine Building and the former Lincoln School as examples. They’ve been on death row for years.
Dan Mayzum, a historic preservation architect, recently purchased the old Carnegie Library at the corner of First Avenue and Curtis Street in Middletown.
Credit: Nick Graham
Credit: Nick Graham
But Mayzum, who earned his masters degree in historical preservation and has 25 years experience, believes the Carnegie Library can get a stay of execution.
In fact, he believes the former library is alive and well.
“She is pretty amazing,” he said while standing on the broken concrete steps. “For a preservation architect, this a dream. Save this bad boy. Bring her back to life.”
He then unlocked two padlocks, warned visitors not to step into the tar near the front door and gave a 30-minute tour. The inside looks like the building has been vacant for about 15 years. Graffiti lines some of the walls. Some wooden beams have been knocked or fallen down. Some windows have been broken.
It looks like a haunted house.
The roof, the same place Mayzum envisions using for outdoor entertaining for up to 60 people, is covered with vegetation.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you keep reminding yourself. Mayzum must be blinded by love.
“It’s going to be amazing, dynamic,” Mayzum said, sounding like a carnival barker.
He calls himself “an eternal optimist,” then added: “Anything is possible. It truly is. This is being done all over the country.”
There certainly have been success stories in Butler County downtowns.
“People are coming back,” he said of Middletown’s downtown, noting 30 businesses have recently opened.
But, he was asked, wouldn’t it be easier to bring in a wrecking ball?
“You are letting a legacy go,” he said. “You are letting a landmark go.”
You can’t argue with a man in love.