One of the best things about Springfield is the personal pride of ownership that shows in the dedication residents put into restoring their own homes, and by extension, the entire community. A valuable resource in this effort is found adjacent to the neighborhood at Eco Relics, 106 Stockton Street in West Riverside.Eco Relics was established early in 2014 by Michael & Ann Murphy. The “eco” part is a commitment to keeping usable construction supplies out of landfills and saving as many architectural remnants as possible. Think of it as a time-traveling hardware store and building supply company! Where better to find what you need to restore a hundred-year-old home?
The warehouse itself is enormously cool, built as a freight depot in 1927 out of brick tiles. It’s 50,000 square feet of treasures, many of which have been salvaged from Springfield buildings that met the wrecking ball. For the preservation-obsessed types who call Springfield home, the loss of a treasured neighborhood structure is a thing to be avoided at all costs. For various reasons, we know that not all historic architecture is saved. Citizens can work to better preserve the past while simultaneously honoring those that have gone before. Reutilizing materials like wood and tile flooring, cabinets and countertops, lighting fixtures, and the like is economical, ecological and respectful.
The Eco Relics team gets this; they are about community. There have been a number of events held there with music and food. It’s definitely a fun atmosphere. They will be offering public workshops in the future. Eco Relics will be participating in One Spark 2015 as RepurposeJax. They’ll provide the community a hands-on teaching studio to create uniquely repurposed designs from recycled materials. Its exciting to see a worn piece spring back to vibrance with a new look.
Springfielders might be most interested in returning period fixtures to their neighborhood. Some of the more interesting items that came from Springfield demolitions are wooden/stone mantels, stained glass cabinetry, oak flooring, claw foot tubs, brass lighting and glass door knobs. Many historic designated neighborhoods have covenants and restrictions that require “authentic” replacement, particularly exterior. The workmanship and durability of 20th century American products long outlive their original owners.
From the other point of view, if you find yourself in the midst of a renovation that involves removing materials from your historic home you may want to contact Eco Relics to see if they would like to obtain it for others to use in the future. Much of what you might pitch in a dumpster might be a treasured relic to someone else.
Whether one lives in a historic home or not, it’s impossible not to get ideas while wandering the aisles at Eco Relics. You’ll find new and repurposed lumber, tools of every vintage, plumbing and electrical materials, lighting fixtures, toilets and tubs, a white wicker wheelchair, and a vintage Fischer Brewery metal sign from France that’s one of a kind. Their friendly staff will work with you, and can build anything from custom benches, kitchen and coffee tables to barn doors. It’s almost everything one would need to restore a historic structure or add character to any dwelling.