125-131 East Main Street has new owners and a new lease on life, with a new look and many new improvements soon to follow. First of all, it needs a new section of wall to keep the snow and pigeons out, work which will start in the near future. Brian & Liz Peters took possession of the property also known as "the KIBBEY building" on Wednesday, October 10th -- exactly eight months to the day that a gaping hole was accidentally opened in its east wall.
The KIBBEY building has experienced many changes in 122 years of existence, but few so dramatic as the events of February 7 - 10, 2012. An arsonist set fire to the neighboring building at 135 East Main on Tuesday, February 7, 2012. Fire fighters were successful in keeping the fire from spreading further up the block after 34 hours on the scene, but other buildings did sustain smoke and water damage. The closer to the fire, the greater the damage, and the KIBBEY building bore the worst of it. The contents of the entire building from four businesses and one organization were a complete loss, and three feet of water stood in the basement.
When the remaining shell of the burned out building on the south-west corner at 135 was knocked down on Friday, February 10, 2012, a significant section of the KIBBEY building's second story interior was suddenly exposed when more of the shared wall between the buildings came down than planned. The building has been in jeopardy of being demolished since then, not out of necessity, but for lack of anyone finding a way to finance its repair and restoration.
The Peters believe that enough significant pieces have come together to not only see the building repaired, but that a major rehabilitation can be accomplished while maintaining historical integrity. This will touch on work in some capacity to all of the wall's exteriors, as well as all of the first and second stories and the basement.
This site will serve as a chronical to provide a peek inside the journey.
The beginning of the demolition of 135 East Main, with the Marshall county courthouse dome peaking over the top of the KIBBEY building. As the wall separating the two buildings was being worked on, a much larger piece was removed than planned, exposing a large section of the second floor as shown in the photo above.
Saturday, October 27, 2012. Plastic tarp goes up on the east wall to protect the building against rain, snow, and pigeons. It is now 99% water tight until the mason can begin work on December 1st to rebuild the damaged wall. The building will be fully enclosed and stabilized before the end of the year.
Although work started later than planned and was delayed by winter storms, the east wall is repaired and the hole is filled in. The building is now fully enclosed and stabilized.
Now the work begins of applying for grants and finding funding sources for the buildings renovation. While it isn't visible to the rest of the community, work still continues behind the scenes. Architectural plans are developed, which include the final face coat of the east wall to cover the concrete blocks.
The cleaning work inside the building is completed removing debris. Five full roll-off construction dumpsters are filled and hauled away. Most comes from the basement, and is manually hauled by bucket and trash can up the old wooden staircase to be dumped. Hundreds of trips; thousands of stairs.
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