Built as a hardware store in 1867, First & Green was originally Doak’s Hardware, owned and operated by the Doak family for almost a century, when the Boones bought it and renamed it Grenada Hardware. Wonderful stories abound: during the yellow fever epidemic, which decimated the population, the doors were left unlocked at night. Anyone who needed a shovel to bury a loved one could just come on in and get it. Later, Katie Boone, who with husband Joe ran Grenada Hardware for 50 years, told Deborah Bailey that they had been the first Grenada business to extend credit to the black community. Joe Boone, when queried about that, rejects any special credit, simply saying, “We treated everyone the same way.”
In 2013 Deborah bought the building. Time had taken its toll, as the floor was largely rotted through or termite ridden, most of the upstairs windows were gone and many birds had moved in, building comfy nests. Buckets to catch water leaking through the roof were everywhere. As renovations began, the various pieces of the building that could be salvaged were removed by hand and saved for future use, and other unexpected treasures were revealed.
Noteworthy First & Green treasures that may be new to you:
Original ceiling: When the dropped ceiling was removed, the original bead board ceiling was found intact, along with Hunter Original ceiling fans in working condition. The old ladders on sliding rails that had been used to access inventory on the highest shelves were, quite remarkably, still in place, tied to the ceiling.
Original floor joists: Though when the building was purchased, the floor was rotten and termite ridden, when it was removed, we discovered that the heart pine floor joists were unscathed. These 28’ long planks were carefully removed and milled to build a beautiful old new floor, unrivaled in beauty, strength and durability. Underneath, there is a new concrete platform, but the floor was built on top of small spacers to provide give for dancers and the creaky feeling of an old floor.
The hand cranked elevator: The Doaks and the Boones alike used the gorgeous old elevator to haul inventory to and from storage on the second floor. Hand cranked, the elevator was built in Chicago by the JW Reedy Foundry & Machine Company, and its parts hauled down by rail. Many Grenada folks have stories about adventures and misadventures related to the elevator, which remains in its original spot, shined up a bit. First & Green’s very first bride used it to display her wedding cake. And it only LOOKS like a guillotine. It is harmless.
The Loft: We added a gorgeous loft upstairs that provides an additional 1,500 square feet of more intimate space. It works well as a dressing area for the bride and her bridesmaids, who often choose to have small champagne brunch in the Loft as they spend the morning dressing and getting ready. There is a large bath/dressing room with lots of mirrors and lights. Later bride and groom may use the space for a brief private respite and toast between ceremony and reception, or the band may use it as a lounge to rest up before they perform.
The Loft provides an element of privacy to any event, a space where special guests can relax and unwind. Some clients have put mattresses on the floor and created a wonderful space where little ones can rest or play to their hearts’ content, without worrying about what those infernal grownups are up to.
The books: The books arrayed along shelves at First & Green Celebrations are almost all beloved treasures brought to Grenada when Deborah Bailey moved from New York in 2006. Deborah has collected more since the move and the writings are a wide assortment, ranging from legal books to cook books to collections of Presidential papers and current mysteries.
Though once an organized library, the books have been arranged and rearranged by guests and artists, as they imagine varying designs of titles, textures, colors, sizes. . . While Deborah is not thrilled with this as it reduces her ability to actually FIND the book she wants, she enjoys the shifting patterns. Next time you are there, take a peek.
Our team at First & Green has lofty goals. We want to express excellence in the most inclusive, accessible, genuine, and hospitable way possible. Our desire is to delight every guest by offering memorable and fun experiences characterized by great food, a gorgeous venue and exceptional hospitality. We are very fortunate that much of the work involved in doing that is handled by our once again beautiful grand old lady of a building.
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