Drawing from the Past

Centerbrook-BackLot

Here is a drawing that we recently unearthed while moving files to our archives. It was done by Bill Hersey, a great renderer who did lots of drawings for the office and Charles Moore in the 1970’s. It takes us back to the beginnings of the office here in our mill buildings, showing plans for a mews to the rear of the office around the tail race filled with shops and offices. Though the mews was never built that way and we have far fewer rented spaces now, in some ways this foretold the great activity and many uses that we find around our place. Bill Grover, who was here at the time comments:

This was a sketch, by Bill Hersey, that was made for a little 8-1/2″ square brochure printed on brown charcoal paper, that was used to attract potential tenants to the building. It was done about 1970 while Tom Rapp was the manager of Charles W. Moore Associates and also Mainstreet, Inc. which Rapp figured would earn Moore enough money to support his architectural practice.

It attracted a strange collection of artists, sculptors, graphic designers: a guy who made moccasins, a saw sharpener, a furniture stripper, John Furness (woodworker and shipwright), Charlie Thill (antiques), Gail Miller’s “Yellow Daffodil” gift shop.

Since that time, Mainstreet, Inc. has slowly evolved into Mainstream, Inc. All of the tenants have left or passed away. Centerbrook has grown substantially and now inhabits 95% of the premises. And the lower site was substantially destroyed in the Great Flood of 1982 and rebuilt by Centerbrook. The place is different but remains as charming as ever, a great place to work.

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Mark Simon
Mark Simon, FAIA, received his B.A. in 1968 from Brandeis University with honors in Sculpture, and his Master of Architecture degree from Yale University in 1972. He has served on numerous design award juries and has taught architectural design at Yale, Harvard, the University of Maryland, Carnegie Mellon, North Carolina State University, and the Rhode Island School of Design. He is one of four partners at Centerbrook Architects and Planners in Centerbrook, Connecticut.
Mark Simon

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