Preservation at its Best 2018, Rural Preservation: Walnut Facade Rehabilitation Project (Walnut)
Walnut, Iowa is a town in western Iowa about an hour from Des Moines and about an hour from Omaha. A recent survey identified a potential historic district that may include 44 structures with 30 determined to be contributing—for a town with a population of 785, that’s remarkable.
Walnut was awarded CDBG Downtown Revitalization Façade Rehabilitation Program grant and the project included work at 16 participating properties. Of these, all but one was determined to be a contributing resource within a potential NRHP Historic District. Walnut’s downtown is, effectively, a one block main street. The age of the participating buildings varied from the early 1880’s through 1915-25.
Each of these buildings were transformed by the CDBG project including GLENN’S PUB – Which required reconstruction of upper wall and parapet. This building had concealed structural problems which could have been dangerous. In addition to brick repair, Glen’s receive a new storefront system, and painting.
AFFORDABLE HEATING & AIR is a a late 19th Century Contributing resource that required masonry repair and restoration, carpentry repairs, installation of new wood-framed storefront system with transoms, and painting. This once foreboding building is now inviting and has an historically appropriate storefront.
The WALNUT CREEK MUSEUM –Is a 1911 Contributing resource. This is an example of building that was in fair condition before; however, the face program help address several deferred maintenance issues like masonry restoration, upper story window repair/restoration, and painting. Oh, and that awning is gone
And STG GAMES – This late 19th Century building, amount other things, needed structural repairs at column bases.
Facade Projects are uniquely challenging because, in addition to the challenges with historic preservation, these projects include multiple stakeholders, including each of the individual participating property owners.
Walnut known as Iowa’s Antique City – successfully turned their tired-looking main street into a source of pride of this rural community.
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 2018 Preservation at its Best award winners includes: