Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered 2018: Dr. J.W. Smith Building, Charles City (Floyd County)
The Dr. J.W. Smith Building at 201-203 N. Main was built in 1866 by Dr. Joel Washington Smith, one of the first physicians to move to what was then St. Charles and open a practice.
For many years the building housed a pharmacy/drug store on the ground floor, presumably to go along with Dr. Smith’s medical practice upstairs. The three-story structure was constructed by Ira and Anson Brackett from native limestone taken out of the old Fairgrounds Quarry (now known as Lions Field Park). Today, the building is today part of a downtown historic district that is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is the only intact block on Main Street remaining after the tornado of 1968.
Presently, the structural integrity of the building is a major concern. The exterior has been severely neglected and pieces of stone have fallen off. A damaged roof has left the interior exposed to water and animals. Despite offers of help by Community Revitalization and Historic Preservation Commission representatives in locating preservation resources, the current owner has shown neither an interest in maintaining the property nor in selling it.
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 2018 Most Endangered Properties includes:
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