In 1992, Bill and Janet Rigby were walking through 73 Elm St., deciding whether to buy that imposing Victorian home that, broken up into eight apartments, had fallen on hard times.
Hard times, yes. But there were hints of its former glory as home to Judge Walter H. Bunn’s clan, none moreso than the 30-step staircase that wound up from the ground floor to the third-floor attic.
All 67 balusters – the supports that connect the railing and the staircase foundation – were in place.
Bill Rigby, who had worked on restoration projects on Staten Island – he also operates American Historic Hardware here, replacing original hinges and fixtures – and Janet, who
had collaborated with him, couldn’t wait to get started.
But on buying the home and taking possession, they discovered: One of the balusters was gone.
“It was obvious: One was missing,” said Bill. “It was there when we walked through the house. It wasn’t there on the day of the closing.”