As the oldest commercial building in the county, Baldwin’s Arcade has served as a post office, bank, furniture store, funeral parlor, drug store, hardware store, and grocery. It has been a focus of social interaction and a vital economic element in the development of Hope as a rural agricultural community. The building is a balloon-frame two-story structure with gabled roof and false front. Each of the storefronts is symmetrical, with a recessed tapering entrance between wood-framed glass display windows. A covered walkway and wood sidewalk (both removed) extended the width of the building, forming a pedestrian arcade and that is the source of the building’s name. Above this arcade was a continuous wood balustrade, and a false front conceals the gable end of the roof. Five equally spaced windows punctuate the upper story of the narrow-clapboard facade and paired brackets support a wood cornice that is crowned with a curved pediment. The upper story was divided into separate meeting rooms for two fraternal organizations—the Odd Fellows on the west and the Masons on the east. The ceilings in these two rooms follow the undersides of the roof rafters to a horizontal plane about two feet above plate height, giving a “cathedral” effect and enhancing their appearance for ceremonial purposes.
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