Buildings don't last forever. But they do take a long time to completely disappear. And sometimes, parts of a building get a second life. Case in point: the furniture and architectural woodwork created by craftsman and salvage dealer Scott Hanson, the owner of Antique Warehouse in Galveston, Texas. Hanson has been saving bits of old buildings for more than a decade and reworking the lumber and hardware into custom pieces, which can now be found throughout Galveston and around the world.
The Houston Chronicle profiled Hanson's work in a recent story (see: "Galveston furniture maker reclaims history, one piece at a time," by Diane Cowen). Hanson was working as a carpenter for a local contractor when he caught the history bug, reports the Chronicle, and started saving antique lumber culled from the demolition waste stream. "Bits and pieces of older homes and businesses - from dainty Victorian 'gingerbread' trim and vintage shop signs to sturdier rafter tails and floor joists - fill his workshop, storage room and part of his antiques shop," reported the Chronicle. "It's all housed in a block-long, blue patchwork building at 25th and Postoffice, a space that also has served as a hotel, brothel and live theater in years past. During Prohibition, a barbershop there fronted for a speakeasy - the front-door peephole is one of many remaining artifacts with a story to tell."
Professionals plying a less respectable trade left their mark on Hanson's place of business — literally, the Texas Monthly noted in 2012 (see: "Historic Downtown Galveston," by Katy Vine). "The space used to house a brothel, and the establishment’s going rates, among other things, are scribbled on the bead board of room number fourteen," the magazine reported. It's one small piece of Galveston's colorful history — a history that Hanson has gradually gotten to know by dealing in the historic town's meaningful bits and pieces. Says Hanson, "I wasn't a history buff before, but now, I'm pretty good at Galveston."