Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cornice Rosettes at the Holly

Work on the Holly Theatre, in Medford, continues, as the paint referred to a few weeks ago, is in the process of being applied, weather permitting.  The lower brick, at the storefronts, has been removed.  HydroStrip, by Devoe Coatings, is a great product…non-caustic, water-soluble and pretty effective (although the painters may have some input on that last point).  No matter how you look at it, it sure beats sandblasting or a total reliance on elbow grease!

One interesting discovery has been at the opposite end of the building, the projecting cornice.  This is a fine sheet metal element, highlighted by strong projecting dentils and rosettes.  Preliminary paint analysis indicated that it had only been painted twice, with a yellow-tan above the galvanized surface and then a deep brown.  While it may have been left natural upon the building’s completion in 1930, I’d pretty much determined to repaint it in a yellow-tan, “Danish Pine,” from Miller Paint’s excellent historic colors series.  Early last week the guys were up there doing paint prep and I got an excited call about the rosettes, which turned out to have been far more poly-chromed than we’d realized.  (There is a peril in having only a few photos of the exterior, none of which actually show the parapet).
At any rate, after a certain amount of head-scratching, we are, of course, going to replicate the three-color (Green/Blue/Red) design of the rosettes.  Much of this will be hand work, 40 feet up in the air, probably lying on your back.  The painters are joking that it will be like Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel.  While I’m not sure that is accurate (although the rosettes should be pretty spectacular when they are done), I am pretty sure that I’d best be showing up donuts or something for the painters.


  1. Thanks for posting this. I walked down and looked after I read your blog. It's exciting to see this building being fixed up.

  2. glad you checked it out, Angela. Next time you have a chance you can see the completed Rosettes, the rebuilt (and repainted) fascia and the entirely restored metal shingle (Spanish Tile) pent roof tiles. The Holly is coming back! Windows should be going back in soon.

  3. I saw them when we were out walking over the weekend. It looks great. I am hoping that the troubles with SOU that were in today's paper won't impact the Holly project in the long term. Downtown Medford really needs this kind of restoration!

  4. No worries, Angela. The Holly restoration will go forward, despite SOU's oddly-timed concerns. Mark your calendar for April 21st, when the JPR Foundation and the City of Medford will jointly sponsor the "Grand Relighting" ceremony, marking the completion of the facade and the installation of accurately replicated neon pylon and marquee. This is exactly the sort of project downtown Medford can use, whatever SOU thinks.