At age 10, Baxter Carr discovered his passion for woodworking. His father, a banker by day, was also the local blacksmith and handyman for Isle of Wight. There were no power tools available when his father taught him carpentry. Carr used hand tools to make carts, among other things. Anytime he and his friends could find four wheels, they built another cart.
As an adult, Carr continued to pursue his passion. More often than not, his shop was in the basement, inspiring his logo “Bax’s Basement”. Over the years, he built cabinets, furniture and more. Having four children gave him plenty of opportunities to work on new projects, especially as they moved out on their own.
When he and his wife, Ruth, became one of the first residents of Windsor Hall, WindsorMeade not only gained incredible residents but the beginning of a wood shop at the community. Since they were in an apartment, Carr needed a place to store his woodworking equipment. It seems the stars aligned as there was a room in the maintenance area designated as a wood shop in the initial drawings for Windsor Hall.
From that room, Carr and a few other residents started building things for the WindsorMeade community. They noticed the need for light features going both in and out of the community. There were lights directly on either side of the security building, but there were no lights across the street. The resident carpenters took this on as their first project. The group decided to replicate the lights already there, but with wood instead of metal. The thought was that if they could make them solar as well, it would save the thousands of dollars that it would cost to dig up the newly paved street, have metal lights installed, bury lines and re-pave.
It worked! Since their first success, the WindsorMeade carpenters have continued to build benches and furniture for usage across the campus. They have built cabinets in Abingdon Neighborhood, steps for the buses, the benches around the bocce ball court, the furniture at the front of the Kensington Room, and most of the furniture in the Worship Room. In addition to creating new pieces, they also take on special projects for residents such as fixing drawers and repairing furniture. They also regularly repair the umbrellas on the tables outside the dining room and Bistro, saving the community about $400 per umbrella in replacement costs.
From a room in maintenance to a stand-along workshop, Baxter Carr has led the charge. He has assisted with ordering new equipment, recruiting and training residents interested in woodworking and made a lasting impact on the WindsorMeade community. There are currently five residents actively working in the wood shop on a regular basis and Carr is proud that he has been able to work with them to help the community he lives in and loves so much. The bonus is, he gets to help while following his life’s passion, working with wood!
Written by: Cheryl Ferrell