Endangered: Central Battery Building, Waterloo

Preservation Iowa’s 2019 Most Endangered List: Central Battery Building, Waterloo, Black Hawk County

Central Battery Building, Waterloo (Preservation Iowa 2019 Most Endangered List)

The Central Battery Building at 217-221 West 5th Street is one of the few office over retail structures left on Waterloo’s west side. The Arts and Craft style building was built in 1912 and is unusual for its use of white and green brick on the façade. Situated near the recently designated Waterloo West Commercial Historic District, the building was noted as being National Register eligible during the District’s nomination survey.

The building has been vacant for a number of years and the current owner’s plans to remodel the structure into artist lofts never materialized. In the meantime, the vacant building has deteriorated and been the subject of vandalism. There have been calls for the city to take possession of the structure which would most likely lead to its demolition. Several other buildings on the block including one to its west have already been bulldozed and are largely used for parking lots.

The character of the Central Battery Building, however, has a lot of potential to bring additional businesses into the downtown’s west side. It sits adjacent to the Russell-Lamson Hotel and Fire Station 2 both of which are on the National Register of Historic Places and with a restored Central Battery Building the area could become part of an expansion of the West Commercial Historic District. In addition, the city is looking to invest in street-scape improvements in the area attracting more potential commercial traffic.

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.  In the past 20 years, Preservation Iowa has designated over 140 archaeological sites, churches, landscapes and a variety of other buildings.

The full list of Preservation Iowa’s 2019 Most Endangered Properties includes: