News Feature

Brooklin
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, October 5, 2017
Architect seeks partner in Brooklin Odd Fellows hall

Brooklin Odd Fellows hall

Brooklin Odd Fellows hall

Photo by Jeremiah Savage Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

The former International Order of Odd Fellows building has cast its silvery presence on Reach Road for over 120 years at the entrance to Center Harbor Road. It has also been in search of an owner as time and weather increasingly left their marks on the 1895 building.

“For the past 10 years I’d drive by and there was a for sale sign,” said John Ike, a longtime summer resident who bought the building, as a partner in 120 Reach Road LLC, in August. “I was always kind of intrigued.”

It was at the urging of Brooklin resident and friend Robert Baird that Ike stepped in, paying $245,000 for the 1895 building.

“Robert Baird and I were talking about it and he said, ‘Why don’t you do this?’” Ike recalled. “He kind of conspired to start the scheme.”

He added, “The idea is basically to preserve the building, sort of stabilize it. Not make it bright and shiny.” Now, Ike seeks a partner/investor to begin repairs and renovations

While not a member of the legal partnership, Brooklin Boat Yard owner Steve White has also thrown in his support.

“I didn’t want to see the building lost to the town,” White said. “It’s a great old building and it’s been an icon all these years even though it hasn’t been used. I’d hate to see it disappear.” White said he plans to help with permitting and “local politics,” as Ike moves ahead with renovations, adding, “Until John [Ike] finds another partner, there probably isn’t much that’s going to happen.”

Renovations will require an amount about equal to the purchase price, Ike said. For starters, the building has no running water, needs electrical rewiring, and a new roof.

Inside, Ike envisions a third-floor apartment for himself, a second-floor apartment for the partner/investor he seeks, and commercial space on the first floor related to boats and boat building.

But Ike, an established architect based in New York City, plans to keep the building’s historic appearance.

“I would like to change as little as possible,” he said. “I love the kind of silvery gray finish on the siding now. I’d love to get the windows back in form.”

He would also like to place its clock tower back on it, which is “lying in the woods, somewhere.”

For now, Ike is focused on finding that necessary partner. “There’s so many people from all across the country that have an affinity for this [area],” he said. “I just want somebody who loves the building the way I do.”