Wringing out the old, ringing in the new

Published 3:25 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the events of the past year and look to what 2015 will bring to our lives.

They say the only constant is change, and Tryon has undergone some big changes.

I was happy to see Tryon Painters and Sculptors step onto Trade Street in their new location, the former Kiveo building.

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I was sad to see OpenRoad Coffee move to Columbus (but don’t worry, I still go all the time and still love it). The historic brick building OpenRoad vacated on Hwy. 176 is one of my favorites and seems to beg for a restaurant or bar every time I drive by. I loved sitting out on that deck by the stream.

Unfortunately Ruby Slipper has closed, but it has paved the way for Huckleberry’s to have a go in what is most certainly one of the most elegant locations in town thanks to real estate developer, visionary, and all around sweetheart of a guy, Bob Lane. Bob and his wife Jackie did a splendid job of renovating what was once an Amoco filling station and making it Tryon’s beautiful centerpiece in St. Luke’s Plaza.

We were all saddened to see Bank of America pack its bags and leave us a very big empty building. But thanks to Scott and Gayle Lane, Missildine’s and the two buildings beside it on Trade Street have been purchased and are on their way to a glamorous makeover. Scott is the son of Bob and Jackie Lane, and has apparently inherited the excellent-taste-in-commercial-real-estate gene from his parents as well as a love of Tryon.

Missildine’s, named for the pharmacist and former mayor who once owned it, and the two adjacent generously-sized Trade Street buildings (which once housed the Polk County Library and more recently Tryon Federal Bank) have been empty since I moved here in 2011, so I was very excited when I found out they had new owners, and even more so when I learned the owners were Tryon residents and I’m happy to say, friends of mine.

Scott and Gayle gave the town a treat when they opened the historic buildings for an unusual art show and fundraiser for Upstairs Artspace this past summer. Art collectors, artists, and gallery owners all combined their collections of local art, hanging them on the unpainted walls of the Missildine’s building and tagging them on the faded plaster with sharpies.

The words to the Missildine’s poem, allegedly penned by F. Scott Fitzgerald himself back in the day when residents hung around the Misseldine’s soda fountain after collecting their mail in what was once the hub and social center of town, were carefully scrawled on the wall above the entrance into the now less-than-perfect building.

Nearly three hundred people came to enjoy the art and history lessons, munching on hot dogs and ice cream while watching “The Visitor,” a short movie filmed in Tryon in the 1950s, and even painting artwork and graffiti in one empty room.

Now that we’ve all trudged through the buildings and seen the “before,” we’re looking forward to the transformation the Lanes have in store for us for residential space (with views of Morris, no less!), retail and possibly even restaurant or bar options.

For these very significant historic buildings, this is the resurrection we’ve all hoped.

I’m no F. Scott Fitzgerald, but maybe Misseldine’s will inspire me to write a poem as well. Or at the very least, a newspaper column.  Oh wait, I guess it just did.

Here’s to an exciting new year, Tryon. Happy 2015.