|A century-old treasure has been uncovered in the centre of Alexandra.
Builders undertaking earthquake strengthening at Tarbert St Dental discovered a fishing and hunting catalogue from 1917›1918 in the roof of the building.
Building owner Shona Garry said she understood in the early days, guns and fishing rods were repaired onsite alongside the dental clinic.
Constructed in the 1880s, the building originally housed a chemist and druggery, until dental surgeon Jim O’Kane bought it in the 1890s for his dental surgery.
Sons Jack O’Kane — adental technician— and Jim O’Kane — a dental surgeon—joined him in the family business.
One hundred and thirty years later, the building at 56 Tarbert St is still home to dentistry services.
The building has expanded in that time, from one surgery room to four, and is listed in the Central Otago District Plan as a heritage building.
Mrs Garry said up until his death in 2006, Jack would to return to the dental clinic regularly, sitting in the waiting room and yarning with staff and clients, telling tales of when he operated from the premises.
‘‘Even in his late retirement years, he had a connection with the building,’’ Mrs Garry said.
While Mrs Garry’s connection with the building is not as long as the O’Kane family — she and her husband have owned it for 25 years— she is intent on preserving the history it holds.
The original part of the building, the reception area and the first surgery room, is undergoing earthquake strengthening.
The remaining areas were completed in the 1980s, which has allowed the dental business to keep operating while work is under way.
Mrs Garry said it was important to be preserving a bit of the region’s history.
‘‘We felt it was a good thing to preserve the building,’’ she said.
The work was expected to take another three to four weeks.