Simmons House (Ottumwa)

Simmons House interior hallway (2020 Preservation at Its Best)

2020 Preservation at Its Best: Residential

Simmons House was built between the years of 1899-1900 by F.W. Simmons and boasts 5013 square feet of living space. It was designed by New York architect F.R. Comstock and is the anchoring structure for the east end of the Fifth Street Bluff Historic District. When purchased by the current owners in 2017, the house had been converted into five apartments and had been vacant for more than a year.

After mitigating structural issues and bat infestation, the project could move forward. Carefully restoring the home, replacing all mechanical systems, electrical systems, adding insulation, and returning the edifice to its original floor plan were part of the restoration project.

Reconstruction of piazzas, railings, and urns according to original blue prints brought the home back to life and returned it to its prominent position as the anchor of the entrance to the historic Fifth Street Bluffs, a National Register Historic District.

Simmons House Front Elevation

Preservation Iowa’s two most visible programs are Iowa’s Most Endangered and Preservation at Its Best. These two programs work well together because being listed as Most Endangered often times leads to awareness, a preservation effort, and a high-quality, award winning project.

The full list of Preservation Iowa’s 2020 Preservation at its Best award winners includes: