con ·jure   [kŏn”²jÉ’r] verb – make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere

History is something that most towns have in spades. Communities wrestle with the best practices to preserve and maintain their history and celebrate it as a driver of local economics. But just as prevalent in our core communities are those structures that are old. Old and historic are comparable in some realms, but undoubtedly not interchangeable in the context of community planning and revitalization. So what do you do with old buildings, old facades, old sites, and other old elements of your downtown that are approaching functional obsolescence?

hummelstown gas station

Conjure up something innovative and distinctive. The Gas Station in Hummelstown is a great example. It is not historic in the same way that the buildings are on the town square, just a few blocks away. In the past it was, in fact, a functioning gas station that met visitors coming to town from Hershey and points west. It has been dramatically reimagined since then through a series of restaurant uses, and has settled on a uniquely styled pub featuring an unexpected use of color and materials to celebrate this old building.

Historic structures and their cousins, the “old” buildings, exist throughout our communities. We must work hard to adaptively reuse these structures. They can bolster our local economies and create experiential dining and retail environments that are different than the average strip mall and lifestyle center.

Look at the buildings in your downtown and conjure up something great, something special, and something that has seemingly come from nowhere. If you need to be inspired, chances are inspiration lies within a short drive. It’s not just Hummelstown working magic in our communities.