While most of the buildings in the historic Post Office Block of downtown Abilene were constructed in the mid-1880s, the Perring Building wasn’t built until 1902.  Purchased by Leslie E. Perring in 1898, the property contained a small cigar shop on the southern end.  In 1902, he took out a mortgage for $2,000 on the property and began construction.

 
Originally, the basement was home to L.E. Perring Restaurant.  The first floor is divided into three segments, originally housing a music store (pianos) in the norther portion, an office in the center, and a pool and billiard hall on the southern portion.  Over the years, the Perring Building has housed a wide variety of businesses. 

  
The second floor of the building was at one time a meeting hall for the Knights of Columbus and Veterans of Foreign Wars (in the 1940s).  Since the late 1940s, the second floor has been largely vacant and used for storage.


Building owner George Etherington and Stew Etherington (son) did a major 1st floor renovation in the mid-1970s, stylistically representative of the early 1900s.  They operated a real estate office from this building until 2018.

 
We purchased the building in January 2019.  Since that time, we completely renovated the 2nd floor into two large apartments.  A portion of the first floor space was rearranged to house the Café.  The remainder of that floor got a fresh coat of paint and some new flooring and now houses a gallery with local art and souvenirs.

Ortus Cafe & Gallery

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