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Sock knitters uncover building's 1950s art deco design

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For more about Simply Sock Yarn Co., visit

To follow the progress of the renovation at 1315 E. State Blvd., go to the Simply Sock blog at

Monday, June 20, 2011 - 10:08 am

The historic brick building at 1315 E. State Blvd. will soon be renovated and ready for a new client.

Strebig Construction is returning the building to its 1950s art deco style for the next tenant, Simply Sock Yarn Co.

The building was constructed in the late 1940s by Norbert Schenkel of Schenkel and Sons. In the 1950s, it was used as a post office. Over the years, the original walls and floors were covered and more walls were added to meet the needs of tenants.

The building has been steadily occupied since it was built. The last tenant, Scadata, which synthesized the latest in communication and data transfer technologies, was there for three years, but left 18 months ago. The building has been vacant ever since.

The building has 3,260 square feet, glass block windows, terrazzo tile floors, terra cotta tile walls that reach from the floor up to almost 7 feet of the 14-foot walls, as well as other interesting features.

Strebig will remove the walls and other parts added to the building by previous tenants over the years. The renovation is under way and should be done by the end of June.

Simply Sock will be celebrating its sixth anniversary while renovations are taking place. Owner Allison Van Zandt, 32, started the company when she was 26. Simply Sock specializes in sock knitting, which has proved to be a thriving niche market.

A predominantly Internet and mail-order business, Simply Sock plans to hold its grand opening at the end of the summer and will have showroom hours either one or two days a week.

Simply Sock specializes in hand-dyed sock yarns while offering thousands of colors and styles of sock yarn. All colors and styles will be offered in the new Fort Wayne store while the company continues to fill orders from around the world via the Internet.

“What's unique about this project is that it's two local businesses working together to restore a piece of Fort Wayne in a cherished neighborhood,” says Van Zandt.