Restoration is taking place on College Street at the Dutchman building.

The building’s owner, Robertus van Tilburg, purchased the building in the early 1980s and is overseeing its restoration.

The building was first a feed store during the 1800s. Later, it became a dry-cleaners that was home to Waxahachie Steam Laundry.

“When it was a dry-cleaners, the wagons and horses would pull up and they would back up against the building to unload all of the white collars the men wore in the old days that they changed three times a day. They came from the stock yard, Dallas hotels and Waco hotels,” Tilburg said.

“This place did the French dry-cleaning and they were known for that. There is a sign on the south side of the building that I have preserved that explains all that. Once the building is finished that sign will be visible. When they unloaded, those bags were heavy and it wore out people. They raised the floors so they could take the bag off of their shoulder and roll it onto the next floor.”

Tilburg said a person in the basement would place the clothes in barrels to be cleaned. At one time, a General Electric steam generator supplied power to the building.

Inside the building restoration is moving forward. The original oak floors have been sanded down and refinished. During the process, a number of nails that were protruding from the wood were removed. Tile, fixtures and sheetrock also were put in place in part of the building.

On the outside, the front brick was removed from the structure and reapplied. Insulation has been added to the building, separating the interior and exterior walls by a foot, and the framing for the interior walls has been completed. To protect the building from a fire, a 1.25-inch firewall has been put in on each floor, ceiling and wall.

“In the front of the building I am taking the original wood off and resurfacing that. Then I am putting the original wood back on over the doorframes and windows that we are putting in.  I am personally building the windows. The big tall windows are coming out and the sliding ones are going back in,” Tilburg said.

“The awning will be put back on there like it was in 1890. It is a metal awning and it had a roll that rolled up (like a window shade). So you could pull down two or three feet of linen to give it more shade in the afternoon when the sun is hitting those windows pretty hard.”

Tilburg said he wanted to thank the city for the support it has provided him during the course of the restoration. The project is expected to be completed within the next two months. Once done, the building will house four different businesses.

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1458.