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News :: Seed House roof nears completion; owners discuss windows, controversy
· 5:46pm May 7th, 2014
After receiving a May 1 deadline for repairing the roof of the storm and flood damaged historic seed house building, Joe and Peggy Schott have apparently earned a reprieve as city officials see the roof project nearing completion.
The north side has been covered with composite tiles designed for a historical appearance; crews continue installing the grey roofing material on the south side of the roof this week.
While the council's ultimatum, delivered at a November 2013 city council meeting also included repair of the building's windows, one council member says the work the Schotts have managed to get done is enough to keep the city from pursuing further action for now.
"Since progress is being made, I don’t know that we have much leverage," said Councilman Dave Redlinger. "I am sure that we will send him a letter asking for the projected completion date."
Joe's wife, Peggy, said the couple has been working on the windows. Despite the council's recommendation that the windows be replaced, Peggy Schott said she and Joe believe restoring the windows offers the best historical preservation.
Peggy Schott also said she believes city leaders treated them unfairly and "overstepped their bounds."
"They demanded proof of our financial status -- bank statements," said Schott. "And they told us we were too old to start a project like this."
Also, said Schott, a city building inspector went through the building without their knowledge, and then issued a report deeming it unsafe.
"He said it could collapse at any time," said Schott, adding that contractors who have studied the building disagreed with that assessment.
She said that the couple in fact hired a structural architect to evaluate the building.
"It's as solid as a rock," she said. "I wish they would let us alone."
"We just want to restore this building," she said. "I wish they could just see that."
Schott said that instead of replacing the windows with new ones, the couple is continuing to look for cylinder glass, which is difficult and expensive to buy, but matches the style of the original glass.
"The waves and bubbles of cylinder glass give it its character," she said.
The Schotts continue to learn more about the building's history.
A historian who saw the building for the first time was able to take one look at the rafters, and could tell that at one time, that area had been used to hang corn to dry.
"This building was definitely a seed house," she told the Schotts.
Peggy said she has been told that the building had a drying capacity of 300,000 ears of corn, and vents (similar in appearance to those recently installed as part of the roof project) pulled drafts of air through to help speed the drying process.
"This building was the first canning site west of the Mississippi River," she said.
The Seed House is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Schotts have received some funds from the state's historical preservation departments to repair the roof.
See a previous story about the council's action HERE.
See a history of the building HERE.
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