Endangered: Thomas D. Murphy Co., Red Oak

Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered 2018: Thomas D. Murphy Co., Red Oak (Montgomery County)

Endangered: Thomas D. Murphy Calendar Company Factory (Red Oak)

The oldest section of this three-story brick factory was built in 1905 to house the world renowned Thomas D. Murphy Co., at one-time one of the nation’s largest makers of advertising art calendars. Designed by Omaha architect Harry Lawrie, the building was expanded in 1907 and again in 1920. It was in use until the factory finally closed in 2002. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

An effort has been underway in Red Oak to make the former factory into a museum but lack of adequate maintenance has led to severe deterioration. The poor condition of the roof and windows on the exterior has led to the degradation of the interior. New owners are interested in working with the City of Red Oak to conserve the building but the preservation challenges are daunting.

The National Register nomination form for this building can be found at Thomas Murphy Calendar Company National Register Nomination.  More information on the company’s historical context can be found in the Red Oak Historic District National Register nomination form.

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: