Town Square Dental sits on the north side of the Oskaloosa downtown square and just last week unveiled their newly restored interior with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Many of the most fascinating aspects don’t just come from the first floor that has been renovated, but also what has been practically left untouched upstairs.
Upon entry into the main lobby the new front desk sticks out at you, along with all of the beautiful handcrafted woodwork that is milled from all Iowa native trees. The ceiling is the original stamped tin ceiling that is featured throughout the building.
Town Square Dental had once been under a smaller roof until the business took over the building that was previously Alan Adams photography building, the studio has since moved to the photographer’s personal property north of Oskaloosa.
In the reception area, a photograph of the original wallpaper that was beneath the stamped tin on the walls now hangs above the fireplace. A unique feature at the forefront of the area because the bricks that created the fireplace are original from the building. The walkway that connects the lobby to reception area was once a full brick wall, but the contractors had cut almost exactly where the brick was once laid when it was last patched up. The original slate flooring has been cleaned and polished in the southwest corner of the waiting room.
Family traditions and small pieces of the business’ history were restored and kept in the reception area. Historical photographs from Dr. Tom Bowie’s father and grandfather were preserved and found a home on each of their original dental cabinets, which still had original medicine and tools in their drawers.
Towards the rear of the office, the hallway connecting the from lobby and reception area to the dental rooms provides guests with a miniature museum tour of what was once housed in the building. Photographs of antique dental equipment taken by Rachel Venema photography graces the wall. A collage gallery of the original stamped tin wall coverings which were found throughout the office were created by Rachel Venema and Janel Campbell.
The climax in many tours throughout the office was found toward the end of the hallway where an exposed brick wall held many memories, historical moments and signatures of those from the 1880’s. It has been sealed with a graffiti sealant to avoid smudging of the signatures, and it is definitely a focal point of the office.
Shayla Van Wyk said the office had a minor difficulty when it came to the paper trail between the old location of Dr. Tom Bowie’s office, which was house in the Mercy Medical building on North Market Street. The offices officially culminated under one roof on April 3rd.
Town Square Dental has four staffed hygienists, three doctors – including Eric De Boef, Kara Weishaar, and Tom Bowie – three full time front desk employees, four assistants and Mary Beth, who is a part-time cross-trained employee.
Many of the staff actually had a personal hand in the renovations and final touches of the office space. Staff spent some of their own time to paint or stain various rooms and fixtures.
Cary Van Kampen guided representatives KBOE/KMZN representatives Kate Sterner and Miranda Keeler upstairs, curious as to what other pieces of history and secrets the walls held.
Vintage wallpaper, high ceilings, original wood work and flooring were some of the unique aspects of the second floor. Many of the upstairs rooms had large skylights to let natural light flood into the rooms. Many of the rooms had an exterior door that led to a long hallway which divided the two sides of the building that had since been converted into a single structure.
One of the most unique rooms was what could be described as the floral room*. Signified by the 1970’s themed wallpaper, this quaint, natural-lighted room overlooked the downtown square. Filled with furniture from the same decade, it was a room lost in time. In one corner of the room lay the same antique dental equipment that was photographed by Venema and hung downstairs.
Van Kampen has many plans for the nearly 12 rooms upstairs. Condensing and renovating many of them into suites.
“We’ve heard Musco say that sometimes they could really use a furnished studio place for a couple weeks or even up to a month,” said Van Kampen.
Van Kampen intends to have three to four units in the upstairs portion of the Town Square Dental building. Other plans include creating a fitness center for employees, a board room to hold staff meetings and a rooftop patio.
Without getting an architect involved, Van Kampen believes the space upstairs could be converted into two larger units, one small studio and a larger studio styled unit that is equipped with walls on wheels.
The last room Van Kampen seen on the tour was a large flat that currently holds the only access point to the roof. He hopes this large room would be converted into apartment with movable walls to offer versatility and uniqueness.
Though no renovation or contract date is set in place for the second floor of the Town Square Dental building, it comes to no surprise that much of the history was preserved and remembered within the building. With the minute details and decor touches within the dental office itself, it lends itself to be a modern with a historical flair.
– Miranda Keeler, News Director
* Editor’s depiction… if given the ability to name rooms.