Dearest A. Hoen & Company Lithographers Building,
I first walked your halls over four decades ago: even then you were a majestic ‘old lady’ having stood proud, taking up your city block, for over a century before I was lucky enough to get a key to that front entry.
It took a few weeks to have your layout mapped into my mind, to know every shortcut, to appreciate every corner that brought a new smell and sight, to enjoy exploring every nook and cranny — the attic of course, being the most off-limits, the most unreachable and the most enticing. Oh, the secret trips up those old stairs, into the dust filled cavern. The lifting of old paper covers to see the hidden history of Wild Bill Hickok, Annie Oakley, the Audubon prints, the maps just to name a few highlights of my snooping. I wasn’t supposed to go up those stairs, but the rewards were too great —- the risk well worth it.
Now, forty plus years later, the clock has been turned back to those ‘old days’. I have shared my memories, I have rekindled friendships from those days, and I have once again, walked your halls. They are now shinier, and some glass encased; the brick arches still surround your windows and the wooden posts still carve out the shape of your pressroom. The stables are long gone, the presses have vanished, but so much remains………. they are still ‘your’ walls, they still hold ‘your’ secrets’ and they have let a few of us back in to bask in our youth……….
I loved you then, and I have loved my trip down your memory lanes. Thank you old friend, I feel so young again!
Written by: Bette Dolan