Jacob Harver, a Youngstown State University graduate with a bachelors degree in history as well as the former owner of the Lemon Grove and the current owner of The Knox building, counts down the days until he can open up his secret third floor to his four story building.
The third floor is going to be an art gallery.
The first floor belongs to the Martini Brothers who work with Harver to bring in what is needed to keep the works-in-progress going on the other floors. On it, Harver has the McKelvey Gallery displaying both locally and nationally known artists Jason VanHoose, Michael Greene and Nicole Emery.
Harver said he built up the Lemon Grove, his former business, from scratch, and brought some of it with him.
One proud accomplishment of Harver’s in his new building is the floor in the McKelvey Gallery.
“I tore down a barn for this floor that was actually in the Lemon Grove. Then, when we moved, I tore it back up and put it in here,” he said.
In addition to bringing the Lemon Grove with him to his new building — especially to his prized third floor — Harver said he clear coats some of the drawings and graffiti that came with the building.
“The whole point [of the third floor] is to produce and to sell art. Not just on the local level but we’ve even got some New York content and whatnot,” Harver said.
He joked that he often thinks about picking up and moving to New York, leaving all of this behind. Shortly following that, Harver said he feels a sense of responsibility to preserve the history of Youngstown and to promote its return into the world through art.
Harver stressed that he really liked to fuse history and technology — that he enjoyed to build upon that was already here.
“I think it’s criminal that there is so much money in this town and people could do something,” he said. “I am trying to do everything I can to this space and people just let things decay.”
Nicole Emery, an artist for the secret third floor and YSU student, works with Harver and has her work displayed throughout the building.
“I’m very excited with everything that is happening at Knox and it’s bright and exciting future,” Emery said.
The band Van Allen Belt shot a music video on the fourth floor of the building, something Harver said he is currently keeping open.
Tamar Kamin, a member of the band Van Allen Belt, said he was introduced to The Knox building when the Lemon Grove was relocated.
“The changes that The Knox has undergone over time certainly merit historic significance and its journey is ongoing,” Kamin said.
The top floor of The Knox had “isolationist qualities,” Kamin said, with its lack of light and large space.
“We had immediate draw to the location,” he said. “The numerous floors and vast spaces have a lot of potential for various purposes that anyone could dream up.”