The sixth annual Old Saybrook Historical Society’s Achievement in Historical Preservation Award was presented to Jessica and Lincoln May for their restoration work on their Dudley Building on the corner of Main Street and Dudley Avenue. The Mays own the Saybrook Hardware as well as the entire building, which houses three other Main Street businesses.
The annual award recognizes extraordinary individuals or groups who have contributed to the preservation of the rich history of Old Saybrook. In 1928, Albert L. Dudley, an influential developer and respected community leader, built the building and placed his name and date on the peak of the one-story building. 93 years later the Mays knew major structural work had to be done to maintain the building. They worked with Bruce Lawrence’s Bogaert Construction in Essex for the heavy work of replacing the I-beam supporting the front brick façade. For the more aesthetic touches they worked with Chantal Lawrence’s Total Design Source in Old Saybrook, and the Town Zoning Commission.
The result is a charming restoration of a Main Street store front, true to its original design but softened with the new wood and metal canopies overhanging the sidewalk. Jessica said, “As the custodian of the building, I worked carefully to balance the aesthetics of the storefront. I’m happy everyone seems pleased with the result.”
The building has always had a hardware store, with various owners, including Jessica May’s parents. They purchased the store from George and Barbara Maynard in 1967 and it became a mother-daughter run business. Jessica has now been in the Saybrook Hardware business for over 36 years. When the Mays eventually bought the entire building from the daughter of Albert Dudley, they became the second family in 93 years to own the building.