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The Hamilton Club is private in the center of Lancaster, a place where decisions get made over lunch. Understated authority... that's the way I see its design. Can you sense the impregnability that its builders were after? It's aged well, like Sean Connery - eh? Nothing girlish about it... Nor ugly. Someone said it looks smug. No... as Babe Ruth insisted, "If you can do it, it ain't boasting."
Apparently the club was built at the same time as my home. As you enter each, you're struck by a tile floor which is overall a deep garnet - the tiles are about an inch square. But there is an inner stroking of a darker color, and within that stroke there are a number of tiles which contain embedded designs. Now remember, the artists who created the tiles and laid down the flooring lived in the 1860s or thereabouts.... So the designs, I'm told, are taken from American Indian imagery. And one of the avatars is a reversed swastika! Apparently it was magical to the Conestoga Tribe who lived hereabouts for centuries before Columbus.
At any rate, people notice those tiles particularly, and frequently comment upon them in our foyer. They embarrass me, yet the flooring is historically accurate, the image is reversed, the workmanship is exquisite, and defacing it to remove those six or seven, inch-square tiles seems unthinkable. I'm particularly sensitive to them as I enter the Hamilton Club. Am I, and are they, insensitive to history by leaving them in place? Or are we sensitive to a greater regional history by not tearing them away?
At the moment we cover them with a throw rug in the entryway - which is no solution at all and hides the artistry of our 19th century floor. It is a puzzlement.