City Hall now sports a new set of mahogany doors donated by a local craftsman after a day-long installation Wednesday.
The city will probably hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony sometime next week after the doors are fitted properly, said Anthony “Skip” Scirocco, commissioner of public works.
Replacing the 1960s-era glass doors with wooden doors has been Scirocco’s goal for a long time.
“I always said to my wife, ‘If I ever become the commissioner of public works, the first thing I’m going to do is take those crummy doors out of City Hall because they just don’t fit,’ ” he said Wednesday.
But when Scirocco took office in January 2008, the first thing he did to City Hall was replace the crumbling concrete front steps with granite stairs and bring the lions out of storage to flank them.
“We did the stairs, and then it made the old door look even worse than it already did,” said Debbie LaBreche, assistant city engineer.
City officials found out last fall that they weren’t the only ones who disliked the doors when they discussed with local businesses how to replace them with something more period-appropriate.
“It’s just something that’s always needed to be done here,” said door donor John Zanetti of Zanetti Millwork in Middle Grove. “The old doors were not in keeping with the style of the building.”
The quest to find out how the doors originally looked turned out to be difficult because no one could find a photo of the 1871 building with the original doors visible. Most photos were taken from the side or from so far away that the doors couldn’t be seen.The best photo, found at the Saratoga Springs post office, showed just a piece of the original door.
“They looked at that picture and tried to duplicate the doors,” Scirocco said.
Architect Tom Frost’s office designed 3-inch-thick mahogany doors with beveled glass windows in the top portion.
“The Design Review Commission was happy that he came up with something that was close to what was there,” LaBreche said.
All of the local businesses involved in the project donated their time and materials — Frost; Zanetti; Allerdice Hardware, which custom-made the door pulls and provided the glass; and Northern Dean Inc., a building restoration and preservation specialist in Greenfield Center, which donated trim pieces and installed the door.
“It takes a certain expertise to put in a set of doors this big,” Scirocco said.
Scirocco said Zanetti offered to donate the doors as a gift from his family in memory of his mother, Carol Porter Zanetti, who died in 2005. His brother, Tom, constructed the doors from Honduras mahogany, John Zanetti said.
Scirocco estimated that the doors are worth “several thousand dollars.”
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