By Jeanne Sager
FERNDALE July 30, 2004 The Ferndale Marketplace is an antique selling antiques.
Yup, the building on the corner of Ferndale-Loomis Road, with four floors of kitschy classics and collectibles, has just been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
For owners Richard Delia and Ron Greco, its a guarantee that the project they started in 1999 is a true success.
Weve been members of historic preservation for many, many years, Delia said. When we found this building, we thought it really needed to be saved.
Now it will be.
The original Ferndale Post Office, the three-story wood structure was built in 1894 by Fred Manion.
Manion opened Fred Manion, General Merchandise on the first floor (the original lettering still exists over the front door). Forty percent of the floor was rented to the postal service, making the building the true center of life in Ferndale.
The second floor was used for storage and as an apartment for the postmaster, one Thomas Manion, Freds brother.
The top floor is an open-style attic, which the partners have reopened after years of disuse to fill with antiques.
With nooks and crannies and room after room, the building is a chest for the many treasures Greco and Delia offer in their store people go on an adventure through the building, while the items on display take them on an adventure down memory lane.
And each room is in near-perfect condition the first floor even features the original post office wall, almost completely intact.
The exterior of the building retains, almost in its entirety, the same look as when it was built, Delia said. A new entry platform was added at a later date, larger than the original stone platform; however, it retains the same concept, with steps on each side.
The building even has its original siding, repainted in classic colors. The roof has been re-covered with metal for durability, but the original cedar shingles are visible as the ceiling of the attic showroom.
Perhaps one of the most interesting areas is the basement its half the size of the building.
Postcards from long ago show a building on the site of todays store, so Delia has surmised the basement must have been the foundation of that structure.
A pumphouse outside, built in the 1920s when Manions Store added gas pumps, has been refurbished, and the grounds are similar to those shown in postcards Greco and Delia have collected on-line.
The couple, who have ties to the area from Grecos childhood summering at his parents home in Smallwood, are devoted to their building and their business.
Greco has been an interior designer for 35 years, only leaving New York City in recent years to do smaller jobs here in Sullivan County.
Hes been involved in preservation since the 1970s when he helped with the Ditmas Park area of Brooklyn.
The couple noticed Ferndale Marketplace Antiques because of Grecos love of old elements for his designs.
The shop was an operating antiques store at the time Ferndale resident Maurice Gerry was renting out the space.
Gerry was only the buildings second owner, despite its considerable age. He bought it straight from the Manion family.
Which makes Greco and Delia the third owners they bought the structure a year after coming in as dealers in 1998.
Delia manages the business end of things (he left a job at MasterCard to move full-time to Smallwood with his partner), but its Greco who keeps things hopping.
Hes the dream, Delia said. Im just along for the ride.
The couple is working to make Ferndale Marketplace Antiques a part of the countys history as well they started the Sullivan County Antiques Trail Map, which helps local shops market themselves.
And theyre active in local artists organizations and the Sullivan County Visitors Association.
The National Register designation, which came with the help of local architect Robert Dadras, is another way to market the business and the county.
To explore the marketplace, visit Greco and Delia at 54 Ferndale Road.