Huntington’s historic Carnegie Library has recently been purchased by local business The Collector’s Box Games. CEO and owner, Todd Nightenhelser, said he has big plans for the building.
Since its construction in the 1850s, the building, located on the corner of East Park Drive and Warren Street, has been used as a hotel, public library and a center for special education. Nightenhelser plans to use it for something entirely different. The vision is for it to be a “space for people to come and play and interact socially with one another,” he said.
In hopes of making this vision a reality, TCB Games offers a large selection of board, card, and video games to play in-store or purchase. TCB Games hopes to have a short opening in their new location early December and a full opening next May.
Nightenhelser sees the new building as more than just another place to hang out, however. He also plans to work closely with local schools to make the new location a springboard for artists and students. The stairway walls up to the second floor will be used as a student art gallery with pieces on display which will also be available for purchase.
The second floor, which features a number of smaller rooms, is set to become professional art studios for rent. Not only will artists have an appropriate space to work and collaborate with other creators, but their rent can be paid in artwork done for TCB Games.
“That translates real well for everybody,” Nightenhelser said. “I’m willing to pick up your tab if you make my building prettier, nicer and do things to help.”
While there is plenty of renovating to be done inside the building – including upgrading bathrooms and entrances to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act – the former library’s exterior is also a focus point for Nightenhelser.
“If you want to be able to use older buildings in a new way, you have to be able to make them appealing beyond just the facade of the building itself,” he said.
He plans to enhance the building’s exterior with the addition of life-sized statues of famous comic book characters, such as the Hulk, Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, adorning the roof and corners.
Some parts of the community have opposed this part of the renovation, particularly concerning the protection of the rich history of the building and its visual impact on the area.
Associate Professor Steve Leeper, who has been involved in the artistic and visionary discussions with Nightenhelser, feels strongly about the need for a “crossover aesthetic” between comic book fans, individuals in the community and the gothic style of the building, he said.
“Here’s this beautiful old building, and you look in the comic book world and part of what makes it so exciting is the Gothic architecture with the superheroes,” Leeper said. “It wouldn’t make any sense at all to disrespect the Gothic nature of the architecture and overwhelm it. … You want to do it with some taste.”