TWO YEARS LATERPublished 11:01pm Wednesday, December 4, 2013
On Nov. 30, 2011, the iconic Adams Glass Studio on Highway 231 south of Troy was completely destroyed by fire.
There were few people in Pike County who didn’t have an attachment to the Adams store. Friends and neighbors rallied around the Charles Adams family and hoped, secretly and openly, that Charles Adams would build back.
“As I watched the store burn, I thought, never,” Adams said. “Everything was gone. There was no way to ever put it back.”
Adams’ wife, Mary, was in Troy when she got the message at there was a fire at “the store.”
“When I got closer to home, I saw the black smoke and I knew that it was bad,” Mary Adams said. “All we could do was stand and watch it burn. It was scary.”
Charles and Mary Adams watched as the life they had known went up in smoke.
“The store was like a second home to all of us,” Mary Adams said. “Charles’ daddy, Sam Adams, opened Adams Nut Shop in 1953 and we lived right next to the store all these years. Our four children grew up in the store. They knew all of the salesmen and all of the regular customers. It was a learning experience for them to grow up around the store.”
Losing the store was like losing somebody in the family. There were a lot of memories stored up there.”
And, there were things –family photographs, ribbons that Adams had won in art shows and things of trickery that Sam Adams used to amuse and amaze folks. All of Adams’ stained glass creations were destroy and those of his son, David. And, perhaps, most costly were the records and patterns for his artwork. They could never be replaced.
If the decision had been left to Adams, he might have not accepted the challenges of rebuilding. But David Adams, who shares his dad’s talent for glass, said, “We’ve got to build back.”
“The store was such a part of all our lives and Charles would have been lost without something to do – without his artwork,” Mary Adams said.
The rebuilding plan was to construct a combination glass studio and old time store in the fashion of the late Sam Adams.
“Sam sold mainly pecans, peanuts and watermelons and things like aprons and bonnets,” Mary Adams said. “Mrs. Adams, Ruth, started making the candy – fudge and brittle. In the 1960s, Charles added kiln-fired glass and in 1978 he started with the stained glass. Charles wanted the store to be rustic and David wanted to have a section that was more suited to glass work.”
So, the idea of Adams Glass Studio and Adams Nut Stop began to become a reality.
Charles Adams used old wood from an uncle’s house for the walls. Cedar shingles that were left over when the old store was roofed were used to accent the candy kitchen and a wood floor was a must.
Large windows and antiqued planks were used in the “studio” to give it an artsy flair.
Memorabilia that could be associated with the “old store” was collected and used to create the old country store look that would have pleased Sam.
“Almost everything in the store was destroyed in the fire except the peanut roaster that our children and grandchildren played around,” Mary Adams said. “It had to be reworked but it works better than ever.”
The aroma from the old peanut roaster says “Come in and sit a spell” and the stained glass sun catchers and chimes say, “Come in and shop with us.” Together, Adams Glass Studio and Adams Nut Shop are an inviting blend of the old and the new.
A year ago, almost to the day of the fire, the Adams family held open house in the new “store.” Now, just a few days after the second open house, which was held the weekend after Thanksgiving, Charles and Mary have had a chance to reflect on the decision to rebuild.
Mary Adams, laughingly, said that, when the bills start coming in, she sometimes second-guesses the decision.
But, when they go home at night and look out and see the light in the windows of “the store” that is just as much “home” as the place where they reside they know “We wouldn’t have it any other way.