The restoration of the historic Perring building is almost complete.

Rob Hammatt and his son Edward gave tours to invited guests last week.

The Perring Building at 115 SW Third and 118 NW Second Street is listed on the national and state registers of Historic Places.

Hammatt restored the second floor to the original 12-foot ceilings and included a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom rental on Airbnb.

The south part of the main floor will be the soon-to-open Ortus Café, which has the original 15-foot ceilings.

The original wood flooring has been restored on both floors.

Crepes and coffee

On the main floor Edward Hammatt plans on a breakfast cafe offering several flavors of coffee and crepes sweet and savory.

“I can do 15 different kinds of each,” he said, “something that you can’t get in town but not something super eclectic.

“I’ll also have regular coffee for those who don’t like flavored coffee,” he said. “I like a little chocolate in mine.”

Details on hours and days of the week are still being worked out, he said.

Rob Hammatt said the north end of the main floor may be a retail outlet.

Years of history

The building was constructed in 1902.

According to the National Register of Historic Places registration form, in its original configuration, the interior space was comprised of three offices on the first level and a large open space with several small rooms on the second level.

“The 1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map indicates that a music store, an office, and a pool and billiard hall occupied the first floor of the building. Partition walls have been added to create additional office space on the first level. The original tin ceiling is intact.”

At the time of the nomination, the first level housed the real estate offices of Etherington and Company. The second level of the building was used for low-level storage.

“Historically, it provided a meeting hall for the Knights of Columbus and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The basement once housed L. E. Perring’s restaurant. It is now vacant,” according the registration form.

“When Leslie E. Perring purchased the property in 1898, its southern portion contained a small cigar shop. Perring constructed a temporary building to the north of the cigar shop from which he operated a restaurant. In 1902 Perring took out a mortgage for $2,000 on the property and began construction on the Perring Building. The building was completed by 1904, when Perring sold it to his mother for $9,000.

Many businesses

“The 1904 City Directory for Abilene places George C. Anderson and Cooperative Burial as tenants in the southern portion of the building. The L.E. Perring Restaurant occupied the basement. The 1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map indicates that on the first level of the building a music store was housed in the northern portion, an office in the center, and a pool and billiard hall in the southern portion.

“Throughout the next 50 years, the Perring Building housed several long-term tenants on the first level, including Woolverton and Wyandt, insurance, mortgage, and real estate broker, and Western Union. The first level of the Perring Building has always been full, housing various other tenants, including physicians and the county Soil Conservation Service. In the 1970s the Etherington family purchased the building and used the first level for their real estate offices.”

Hammatt purchased the building in January.

The Dickinson County Economic Development Corporation assisted with the tours.

Edward Hammatt said the corporation provided conceptual assistance.

“They helped us a lot with insight,” he said.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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