Several walls of brick were removed, leaving two signs, the largest of which is close to 16 feet long. One on the northwest corner of the building reads “Ice Cream”; the other, on the south side, reads” Ice cream & soda.”
Though many in Warren remember the building as the Jade Tree, it goes farther back than that. It was built in 1930 and prior to becoming a Chinese restaurant it was the Hope Creamery, a popular hangout spot for kids in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and possibly earlier. The building is owned by Bristol resident Ed Cox; he bought it earlier this year.
Mr. Cox’s crews are renovating the building to provide new apartments on the second floor, and a home for Alfred’s Antiques, formerly of Barrington, on the first. Mr. Cox said this week that the signs will probably stay where they are and will eventually be covered over, as they’re integral to the building and would be difficult to remove.
During their short coming out party, the signs have generated a fair bit of interest from parts close and far — all the way to South Carolina, even.
South Carolina resident Anne Marie DiMaio is the granddaughter of Frank DiMaio and daugher of Christopher A. DiMaio, former owners of the Hope Creamery. Her niece still lives in town and e-mailed her photos of the old signs last week.
“I have very vivid memories,” she wrote in an e-mail to the Warren Times-Gazette. “I actually lived with my parents above the Creamery for the first three years of my life. We moved from the original upstairs apartment when my brother was born. My brother and I were both very excited to see the photos that my niece sent to us. The two of us were also very excited about the possibility that there just might be an original sign from when my family owned the property that survived covered all these years.”
Others were just as nostalgic.
“The old Hope Creamery in Warren was one of my usual stops in the late 1950s,” wrote Bristol resident Manuel C. “Manny” Correira. “Loved the ice cream sodas there, especially on a warm summer day! Ahhhh, to relive that era again would be wonderful!
“I also remember fondly partaking of some great ice cream and other ‘goodies,’” wrote a poster named “Wurlinut.” “I am extremely pleased that the building will finally be rescued and put to good use.”