Vets’ honor remains at lodge

The Catholic War Veterans may have sold their lodge in 2005 to developers John and Susan Casey, but

The Catholic War Veterans may have sold their lodge in 2005 to developers John and Susan Casey, but that sale did not sever the sentimental attachments to the building.

Last week, when John Casey and his construction crew dismantled the front wall as part of renovations for apartment and retail space, the cornerstone installed by the organization in 1959 was removed. Casey said he immediately heard from members of the chapter, which now meets elsewhere.

Casey said he had no intention of dishonoring the vets by destroying or discarding the stone. On the contrary, he said, he recognized the need to preserve the memento and installed it in a prominent place on the second floor on the back side of the building. Surrounded by bricks, the stone draws immediate attention and, to some degree, defines the back wall.

Chapter Commander Michael DiMarco said members were not upset that the stone had been removed, they were just concerned about its fate and were ready to take possession if Casey intended to discard it.

DiMarco called it a “nice gesture” that Casey reinstalled it in the building.

“We’re very pleased he wanted to do that,” DiMarco said, adding, “we appreciate it.”

The chapter sold the building to the Caseys for $65,000. The vets purchased it in 1959 for $15,000.

Having completed their renovation of the former Sowle’s Hardware into loft-style apartments and the new home of the clothing store, Beacon Wearhouse, the Caseys are nearing completion of converting the vets hall into 13 apartments for people at least age 50 and a first-floor specialty shoe store.

The building facade will be restored as much as possible to the original, which is depicted in a photograph the Caseys obtained.

The building will be serviced by a new elevator.

Apartments will range in size from 675 square feet to 850 square feet and will range in price from about $600 to about $850 monthly, Susan Casey has said.

The apartments will have stainless steel appliances, and each floor will have a laundry room.

The couple has also proposed building a 45-unit apartment complex on the site of the soon-to-be demolished First Baptist Church.

Categories: Schenectady County

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