Endangered: Deb’s Corner Cafe, Manning

Deb's Corner Cafe in Manning, Iowa, listed in Preservation Iowa's 2012 Most Endangered Buildings.

Deb’s Corner Cafe in Manning, Iowa, listed in Preservation Iowa’s 2012 Most Endangered Buildings.

Preservation Iowa’s 2012 Most Endangered Buildings: Deb’s Corner Cafe (Manning, Carroll County)

This building was built in the early 1890s, shortly after the prior building burned down in May of 1891. This building was originally part of the “Horse Shoe Bar,” which was touted by the Dubuque Brewing and Malting Company, brewers of Banquet Beer, as the longest bar west of the Mississippi River. The bar was of solid mahogany, was 120 feet long and took eight bartenders to service. During Manning’s heyday as a railroad center, the business employed as many as 12 bartenders.

Deb’s Cafe is now considered to be the center of the local daytime social activities. Here is where the local farmers and community members meet to discuss the day’s events. It is here where many ladies congregate after morning church services.

The current facade includes elements of the original facade, including the rollup mechanism for the awning. The present condition of the facade is poor and much of it is crumbling. At the roofline, the facade has partially pulled away from the building infrastructure. Rain, snow, and sleet are leaking into the front of the building. The ceiling inside the cafe shows definite damage from moisture. The rate of deterioration is increasing and will continue to increase as long as the weather elements continue to penetrate parts of the structure. Much of the remainder of the building is in acceptable condition. It would benefit from paint and maintenance but is not crumbling at this time.

Without repairs, the ongoing viability of front of the building is in question. Parts of the facade, including the brick, is crumbling. With the top of the facade becoming separated from the infrastructure, the entire facade is in peril. It could come crashing down onto the sidewalk. Lack of owner finances prevented normal maintenance and has prevented any level of restoration. Major financial investments are simply not feasible.

With the right financial support, the facade can be restored. In addition, the ceiling in the front of the building must be torn down and moisture damage be repaired to the ceiling and to the structure itself (if the examination reveals structure damage.

Additional pictures of Deb’s Cafe can be found at: www.davidkusel.com.

Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered Property program was started in 1995 and implemented to educate Iowans about the special buildings and historic sites that are slowly and gradually slipping away from us.  Since the initiative’s beginning, Preservation Iowa has designated over 140 of Iowa’s endangered sites, churches, homes, and commercial buildings.

The full list of Preservation Iowa’s 2012 Most Endangered Properties includes: