Considering it was almost lost to the wrecking ball and the ages a few short years ago, the turnaround at 101 N. Main St. has been remarkable.
The success story of the restoration of the Matts House has added another chapter with an Adaptive Reuse award from the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation. Troy Rost, who led the extensive restoration, will be honored at a ceremony May 9 at the Old Sugar Distillery. Officials from the trust will also do a short presentation on the project.
“We are thrilled to honor the efforts of people like you who work hard to keep Madison’s history alive,” reads a news release from the group.
Each year the trust “highlights specific projects that show a high level of devotion to historic preservation through property owners, architects, designers, contractors or other participants,” according to its website. The Matts House is one of three recipients of Adaptive Reuse awards this year, as well as the Goodman Community Center – Brass Works in Madison and Pasture and Plenty restaurant in Madison.
The Matts House building, believed to be Verona’s oldest remaining, was erected by city pioneer Josiah H.B. Matts around 1848. It was home to various businesses and private owners before the city bought it in 2015, with intentions to raze it, as the cost estimate to make it usable for commercial or retail purposes was as much as $1 million.
Instead, a group of local residents persuaded city leaders to stabilize the building and wait a few months before making any major decisions. In 2016, Rost, who specializes in restoring historic buildings, bought it from the city for $1, with the stipulation it be kept in its location and restored to its original majesty.
He and his crew spent nearly a year on the restoration, first gutting and then rebuilding the structure, trying to keep as much original material as possible. The building was dedicated last October as retail space, with The Purple Goose clothing, accessory and gift shop operating on the first floor, and a studio for classes and events on the second floor.
In an email to the Observer last week, Rost said Purple Goose owner Halley Jones is “doing an amazing job in there of both running a business and creating a public space with the upstairs.”
“I really enjoyed renovating the building,” he wrote. “It is really a nice feeling getting the award, though it is really a recognition of how a city can proactively work together with preservationists and contractors to save historic buildings.”