Getting recognition

Bookstore owners receive
state award for building restoration

Author-musician Roznowski
to be at Village Lights

By Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

(December 2009) – When Nathan Montoya explains the thought process that lead he and his wife, Anne Vestuto, to open the Village Lights Bookstore, he has to laugh. “We wanted to move on to another life as it were. We tried to choose between raising goats and selling books,” he explains, then continues in a more serious tone. “We’ve both been surrounded by books and learning all our lives.”



Happily for downtown Madison, Ind., the books won out. This decision led not only to a new chapter in their own lives but that of the historic building that came under their care.
Village Lights Bookstore recently celebrated its first anniversary in a big way. In addition to a local party that included readings by Indiana Poet Laurete Norbert Krapf and musical performances by Greg Ziesemer and Kriss Luckett-Ziesemer, Montoya and Vestuto attracted statewide attention with an award for the restoration work done on the building that houses the bookstore. On Nov. 13, the Village Lights Bookstore was named 2009 Indiana Main Street Best Historic Rehabilitation Project in an Indianapolis ceremony presided over by Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman. Madison Main Street Design Committee Chair and member of the board of directors Rhonda Deeg assembled the successful nomination packet consisting of current and historic photos and newspaper articles documenting the building’s past, which included an appearance in the 1958 film “Some Came Running.”
“When I met Nathan and Anne, they were in the process of restoring the building. They were so meticulous and caring in what they did,” Deeg explains.
When restoration began, Montoya, 57, faced a surprising reminder of the store’s brush with fame. For the film, the exterior of the building had been painted black, and that included the tiny panes of the large prism glass window. These panes were made with a ribbed inner surface that helped bring light in from the outside to brighten an otherwise dark interior.

Village Lights Ceremony

Photo provided

From left, Rhonda Deeg, Nancy Gruner,
Indiana Lt. Fov. Becky Skillman,
Annette Vestuto and Nathan Montoya
are pictured during the awards
ceremony in Indianapolis.

“It took me two weeks by hand scraping the paint off the prisms,” recalls Montoya. As a reminder of this task, he left the paint on one small pane, and with a bit of imagination, visitors can imagine the work that went into the now beautiful window.
The Village Lights Bookstore is currently building a reputation as a showcase for area talent. “We try to feature local artists,” says Vestuto, 53, of the frequent art shows and musical performances that take place alongside the shelves of books.
On Saturday, Dec. 19, the store will play host to Bloomington, Ind. author and musician Tom Roznowski from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. for a book signing, stories and song. During his visit, Roznowski will sign copies and give readings from his new book, “An American Hometown, Terre Haute, Indiana in 1927.” The book was initially inspired by a series of photos Roznowski saw of the town, taken during the early to mid-1900s.
“The entire appearance was epic to me,” he relates. Upon his first visit to Terre Haute, Roznowski discovered the many changes that had taken place in the life of the town. “I was wondering why something that had been so appealing had disappeared,” he says.
The author will also be performing songs from his CD, “This Place in Time – Tom Roznowski,” with the Americana musical group, The Living Daylights. “What we’ll be doing is taking some of those songs and connecting them to the stories in the book,” he says of the upcoming performance.
Montoya and Vestuto agree that it is a sense of community that has made their venture so rewarding. Montoya highlights the many people who have been instrumental in giving Village Lights its unique character including staff member Nancy Anderson, weekly guest pianist Leonard Miller and woodworker Matt Hicks.
“We’ve met some wonderful people here in Madison,” says Vestuto.

• Village Lights Bookstore is located at 110 E. Main St. in Madison. For more
information, visit: www.VillageLightsBooks.com. Learn more about Tom Roznowski at: http://TomRoznowski.net.

Back to December 2009 Articles.



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