We were passing through Old City the other day and noticed what looked like construction activity at 200 Quarry St., a property that’s been vacant for a number of years. Despite its recent empty run, the building has a rich history and dates back two centuries, and for much of the 20th century it was home to John Grass Wood Turning Company. According to WHYY, machines from the late 1800s were still being used to sculpt wood here until 2003, and the building has been unused ever since then, slowly falling into disrepair. While we don’t remember when the building was used in this fashion, we do remember enjoying some awesome wraps from the original Wrap Shack, which was located in a literal shack next to the building until around 2008.

Quarry Old
View in 1960
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In 2007

As we said, and as the WHYY story linked above also indicates, the building has been slowly deteriorating over the years. It came under new ownership in 2017, with developers subdividing the corner building from an adjacent building on Quarry Street. The corner building traded again last year, which might lead to the expectation that it’s currently under construction.

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About a year ago
Current view

We don’t see any active permits for the property, however. Instead, we see some open violations that relate to the unsafe nature of the structure- so we have to think that the bracing that we now see on the building is simply there to make sure it doesn’t fall down. Perhaps the owners will work to save the historic building or maybe it’s too far gone to preserve. Either way, we imagine they’ll be presenting to the Historical Commission at some point in the near future.

Adjacent property, currently for sale

Speaking of preservation, we have to give praise to the team that redeveloped the neighboring building at 210 Quarry St. and note that the property is currently listed for sale for $2.095M. We’re pretty sure that this space was previously full of wood turning equipment, and now it’s being marketed as a live/work space or a vacation rental. The historic window replicas are especially impressive and indicate just how nice the adjacent building could be if it gets a similar treatment. We fear this might not be possible at this point, but we’ll wait and see what a structural engineer has to say on the subject, when the time comes.