Two buildings on the Bloomfield square have been placed on Preservation Iowa's list of the Most Endangered Properties of 2014.
The Priester Buildings sit at 110 and 111 South Madison Street. The buildings were built in 1874 and have since housed everything from a furniture store to an opera house. The second floor of both buildings has not been used since around 1945 and required a great deal of clean up. The building's foundation is also crumbling and it has sustained significant water damage from a leaking roof.
Preservation Iowa aims to educate Iowans about the historic buildings all around us and help preserve them, whenever possible. By being placed on the Most Endangered Properties list, the Priester Building will also receive consideration for historic grants that can be used for its preservation.
And preserving is exactly what building owner Butch Priester intends to do. He bought the buildings at the beginning of the year and has been working on renovating them ever since. The buildings already have new electrical wiring and plumbing and the work continues.
Priester said that by investing in this building, he is investing in the Bloomfield community. Additionally, it is worth the time and effort to preserve history for future generations.
"We've put in a lot of our own time and a lot of our money that we've decided to put into this community and put back into this building," Priester said. "There's a history here, my father was in this building 50 years ago probably that I remember as a kid, worked in a furniture store here, so it has some meaning to me."
Priester said he would like to turn the upstairs space into apartments. The downstairs of both buildings will hopefully be used as retail space.
Other buildings listed on the 2014 Most Endangered Properties list are the Forest Grove #5 School in Bettendorf, Beers and St. John Company Stagecoach Inn in West Liberty, Brooklyn Opera House in Brooklyn, Historic Unitarian Church in Keokuk and the Glenwood Archaeological State Preserve in Glenwood.