kemo1

The Symbol..

A History Mystery...


A final thrust of the crowbar cracked the wooden crate open, and the architect, the anthropologist and the mortar expert leaned in to look at the oddity that had drawn them to an out-of-the-way warehouse. It was a 3-foot-by-10-foot section of timeworn brick wall, its predictable rows abruptly interrupted by three distinct, deliberate-looking triangular shapes. Once part of a warehouse, it now does nothing but raise questions. 


Painstakingly preserved from a 175-year-old building in lower
Manhattan, the brickwork symbol is part of a tantalizing historical whodunit. The setting conjures both New York's mercantile past and its future, and those who may be involved include a prominent, deeply Christian businessman. Could the design be a cryptic marker of mystical beliefs? A tradesman's signature? A bit of architectural shorthand? A creative way to patch a hole? Speculation, some backed with scholarly authority, has generating enough gravity to pull in community leaders and persuade a developer to spend $13,000 to save the artifact from demolition.

"Whether you believe in this stuff or not, it suggested so much and pointed to so many things," said Alan Solomon, a historian who pushed to preserve the symbol and probe its meaning. "It's just a cabinet of curiosities.” The design is simple, but clearly intentional: It centers on a triangle framed with a strip of mortar, framed by two rougher triangular forms. 

It sat unheralded for years in a building on
Pearl Street, at the edge of the financial district. Solomon, who works for a vintage-lumber dealer, spotted it several years ago while engaged in an effort to save the 1832 building.

Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7) www.beyondgenes.com 

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