Salvaging the past for current homes

A 45,000-square-foot warehouse featuring both indoor and outdoor retail space spanning close to 2½ acres await your old house needs.

My house is a 1960’s Cape Cod so it’s with a bit of jealous that everyday I past by grandiose houses from the late 1800’s. They flaunt their massive doors, wraparound porches, and taunt me with architectural detail that my perfectly cozy Cape can’t compete.

I realize that those older houses are a fickle bunch and many downright grumpy. There are pieces missing or broken that you’ll never find at Pleasant’s Hardware no matter how hard your grey-haired clerk looks. Luckily for those in the Richmond area there is a place in Manchester that can help you tame the surliest of old houses.

Caravati’s Inc is located at 104 E. 2nd Street and has everything from cobblestones to coat hooks. The RTD took a look at the business and what it takes to keep in operation.

Established in 1939 by the late Louis Caravati, the company has grown to a 45,000-square-foot warehouse featuring both indoor and outdoor retail space spanning close to 2½ acres.

In the early days, Caravati’s biggest sellers were salvaged bricks and riff pine planks.

“We still adhere to a lot of my grandfather’s ways of doing things,” Kastelberg said. “We still seek the salvage rights to old buildings, and we still try to purchase and reclaim material or take the buildings down for the material.”

Much of Caravati’s expansive inventory comes from turn-of-the century houses, ranging from the 1870s to early 1900s. Some of their oldest excavations have delved into structures first assembled in the late 1700s.

“We’re all for preservation — absolutely 100 percent for that,” he said. “If a house is a derelict house and it’s becoming a liability and eyesore but there are good parts to it, then we’d rather see it come down instead of have it rot away.”

Image: Caravati’s

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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

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