March 21, 2019

"Old Sacred Feather building covered in black paint in violation of city rules."

The Wisconsin State Journal reports:
Steve Manley, who owns B-Side Records across the street from the building, said workers on Tuesday had the painting “all done in a couple hours, and I just could not believe my eyes. It was a beautiful and natural stone and brick facade... A lot of people are upset about it.”...

A man doing work inside the building on Wednesday afternoon declined to provide his name but said there had been a “miscommunication” with painters, who thought they were supposed to paint the outside as well as the inside of the building. The inside was also painted mostly black.
It's hard to understand how such a miscommunication could happen. Go to the link to see the shocking before/during/after pictures of this classic old building.

It's bad enough that the great old hat store is gone. In happier times:

IMG_1167

The new tenant is, we're told, a coffee shop.

38 comments:

Big Mike said...

I don’t like historical districts, not one bit, but I like people who paint over brick and stonework even less.

Wilbur said...

As far as I'm concerned, it's not a bad look for a coffee shop. The beatniks and avant garde poetry readers will love it.

Oh, you mean it's not that kind of a coffee shop where approving listeners in berets snap fingers rather than applaud?

Kevin said...

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

Kevin said...

The new tenant is, we're told, a coffee shop.

Two coffees, black.

Tommy Duncan said...

Solution: Find a link to slave ownership in the proprietor's family and tear the building down.

tim maguire said...

Hmmm...well...actually, the black goes better with the red gable. Plus that's a fine color for a coffee shop. Plus I don't believe it happened by accident. Such a different sized job, money would have been an issue. There would have been discussion specifically about the outside.

Tank said...

Let's be honest, criticizing the building for being black is … you know.

Phil 3:14 said...

Madison so white
(but now less so)

Ralph L said...

I read the eyeliner bit first and then thought that was a lock of hair falling down your nose instead of your nose.

buwaya said...

There are some San Francisco Victorians done up like this, or in similar styles. Black with, sometimes, contrasting trim, or just like this, with some part often the upper storey or two left bright. It certainly stands out.

I used to, 30 years ago, for a while, live up the street from Anton LaVey's (the famous satanist) house on California St., and it was of course all black.

Glen Filthie said...

That was a cool hat, A-house.

Ralph L said...

The Chinese are taking over Madison! I'm scared, Father, no Sacred Feather.

I saw a show recently where they removed centuries of paint from elaborately-carved Georgian plaster in one go with some goo.

Paco Wové said...

Sounds like the building was bought by a Chinese investment firm:

"The Sacred Feather closed last summer after a 48-year run. The building was sold in April of last year to SCK Investment. An attempt to reach the registered agent for the firm, Xianjing Shan, was not successful."

I can definitely see many possibilities for miscommunication (with hilarious results!) in this scenario.

Darrell said...

Was the original building light yellow, like in that very small photo? That wasn't exactly an eye-pleasing combination, either.

Jake said...

I think it looks better.

Christy said...

Not an accident. Bringing in a lift to do the outside was significant. More money and more planning.

Skeptical Voter said...

A hat store in the Sacred Feather building? Is that where Liz Warren went to shop for her war bonnets? Was Nathan Philips around to help her make her selection?

Curious George said...

You in a hat store? I thought that was a movie poster for Crocodile Dundee IV.

William said...

It's extremely ugly. I suppose that draws attention to it which might be a plus for a retail establishment. Still, my heart, even now, is so filled with trust and good will that I'm prepared to accept their explanation that it was some kind of stupendous mistake. I like to think that no one freely chooses the bad and the ugly over other options. Were better than that.

Ralph L said...

The tenant won't last long if he has to pay the cleanup bill plus lawyers for the dispute. Another under-capitalized small business bites the dust thanks to government, despite Hillary not being president.

Creating a historic district that includes the site would require review by his commission and the City Council

The property owners don't get a vote? My family's three houses were stuck in one against our will when my grandmother was pushing 90 and the rest of us lived out of town, so I don't know if we could even protest. Their "guidelines" may be good, but it burns my butt to be told what to do with property my ancestors largely built and I restored when it made zero financial sense.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

I like it! As Tim said, the black makes a striking contrast with the gable. But, yeah, who needs another coffee shop? Screw that.

Rae said...

How it usually goes around here:

1) undercapitalized investor buys a vacant place for a (restaurant, store, gas station)
2) having failed to consult anyone knowledgeable about local regulations, they begin updating
3) predictably, they fail inspection
4) now in debt for buying the and place *and* the useless updates, they cannot afford to bring the property into compliance
5) they stop paying taxes on the useless property, eventually it is seized by the county/township
6) it sits vacant for decades.

EDH said...

A man doing work inside the building... said there had been a “miscommunication” with painters, who thought they were supposed to paint the outside as well as the inside of the building. The inside was also painted mostly black.

Althouse said...
"It's hard to understand how such a miscommunication could happen."

You really aren't a Three Stooges fan, are you?

tcrosse said...

If you want to get ahead, get a hat.

Not Sure said...

They paint Paradise, and put in a coffee shop

Michael McClain said...

Meh. BFD.

Levi Starks said...

It’s a nod to the global warming gods.
It will require less fossil fuel to keep it warm in the winter.
Which should more than offset the increased cooling requirements during the month and a half of summer.

Deja Voodoo said...

I worked across the street from that building when I first landed at UW. At the time, it was a ladies lingerie store. The owners were an old couple who had met when he was a traveling salesman and she was a buyer at a department store. They got married, quit their jobs, and set up shop together.

Earnest Prole said...

Anton LaVey's (the famous satanist) house on California St

Black House (Church of Satan)

tcrosse said...

Thanks, Deja Voodoo. I left Madison in 1975, and was trying to remember that building. Your reminder brought it all back. The Google street view tells me that nothing is now as it was then.

Jessica said...

It's an awful paint job. Terrible. But a fight over a 'historic overlay' in my own neighborhood has made me much more skeptical of government oversight of the aesthetics of private property. It is ok if there are ugly buildings and houses. Isn't that part of the interesting diversity of life? Isn't there some entertainment and conversational value to groaning over the Philistines and their terrible paint jobs? If people actually cared (as opposed to just enjoying complaining) there's always the option of pooling money from around the city to buy the property and remove the paint (if possible). I think people just like the histrionics and virtue signalling involved in these things, sometimes.

I'm playing devil's advocate to a certain extent (I mean, it really is ugly), but I think it's worth stepping back and thinking about whether we really need bureaucrats approving paint jobs.

Joe Veenstra said...

What a bummer. I loved that store and the people that worked there were great. I bought a leather belt there that persisted for more than a decade through the vagaries of my weight gains/losses.

Howard said...

It's hard to understand how such a miscommunication could happen.

Female college professor privilege. Try to think how real people accomplish real tasks in the real world in real time. Maybe you can get a surgery for 20/20 hindsight

mrsizer said...

I live in fear of having to paint my house and/or garage. Both are brick and we have a graffiti problem in this area. That won't come off and I'll have to paint it all. I will not choose black, though. Neighbor's house (that neighbor I talk to - see a couple posts up if my comment got out of moderation) is purple with darker purple trim. There's also a yellow house and an orange house on the block (both painted brick).

tcrosse said...

When I've hired painters, I've had to specify exactly what gets painted so the painter can cost out the labor and materials and settle on a price. This usually gets put in writing. So I call bullshit on "miscommunication".

eddie willers said...

Eye of the beholder and all that, but I think the black is a great improvement.

Anthony said...

I bought <a href="http://acagle.net/images/tony-egypt.jpg>this hat at the Sacred Feather and wore it in my first season in Egypt</a> in 1988.

OMG, B-SIde is still there! It was our Mecca between 1980 and 1985. We would all debate which one of us was going to buy the LP so the rest of us could tape it. My one roomie took a Night Ranger album back twice because he said one track had a funny rasp on it and the owner at the time got all fed up and asked him "How can you tell with all that noise?"

Friendo said...

My first reaction to the picture in the post was "Althouse, you're hot"