OTTUMWA — An Ottumwa home is one of nine properties designated on the 2020 Most Endangered Properties List by Preservation Iowa.
The historic Daum House, 513 N. Court St., was included on the listing, which began in 1995 to educate the public on “special buildings and historic sites that are slowly and gradually slipping away.”
Daum House was built in the early 1880s for W.R. Daum, president of the Electiric Street Railway Company. It is part of the Court Hill Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
The house is currently placarded due to a combination of fire damage and neglect. It has a history of being placarded, most recently due to and October 2018 fire. Before that, it had been “poorly converted from a single-family residence into an 8-unit multi-family building,” reads a release from the city.
Features of the most recent deficiency list include: damaged floors, ceilings, walls and windows; smoke and fire damage; deficient plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems; and broken windows, doors, soffit, fascia and deficient structural elements. The condition of the home continues to deteriorate as it sits vacant, and the release states the owner “has shown little interest in making repairs and maintaining the property.”
Supporters of the historic district — and the home — are searching for a party interested in restoring the house. The Most Endangered Properties program helps bring attention the risks to a designated historic property can have and introduces owners to preservation advocacy and resources that can help preserve the property. Interest groups have also been able to use the designation as a mechanism to leverage other financial resources to restore and preserve properties. If a buyer could be found, the City Planning Department would provide technical assistance and leverage funding opportunities to assist in a rehabilitation of the property.