History uncovered during renovations for the new Urth Caffé in Old Towne Orange is being used as inspiration for a café that will surround diners in authentic city history.
Urth Caffé is set into open in the fall in the one-time home of Hemphill & Morse Real Estate, Loans and Investments. The building was constructed in 1888, the same year Orange was incorporated.
Workers with Spectra Company, a historical restoration and preservation contractor, were working on what will be the café’s main dining area when they made a big discovery. Chipping away a half-inch of plaster revealed the painted sign of the original real estate office, covered for more than a century when the building was expanded in 1907.
Mark Green, senior superintendent with Spectra, has worked on historic properties for decades, and said discovering chunks of history adds a dose of excitement to the job.
“We really like to find stuff like this,” Green said. “It’s really gratifying, especially at my age. I don’t think I could go back to new construction.”
Over his years on the job, Green has dug up all manner of historic remnants, including a bag of…