Monday, April 17, 2017

142-year-old brickwork collapses ...

This is the sort of post I don't enjoy writing, but it would be hard to overlook the fact that a portion of the alley-side wall of the southside Gasser Block collapsed over the weekend. 

I don't know when the collapse occurred, but noticed it late Sunday afternoon. Didn't see it Sunday morning, but that may have been because I was focused on getting myself and a rather large salad to church on time rather than on the scenery.

Such wounds can prove fatal to an old building of this sort, in limbo since its last business occupant, the Sportsman Bar, closed a few years ago. Such damage can be repaired, of course, but that takes cash.

This is the oldest building on the south side of the square, dating from 1875. Here's a paragraph from The Chariton Patriot of Dec. 29, 1875, describing it:

"The best building that has been erected during the year is Mr. G.F. Gasser's south side brick. This is 41 x 70 feet, and is two stories high and is classed among the best buildin1gs in the place. It is a substantial structure, with cellar under the whole and divided into rooms as follows: The lower story is divided into two store rooms, and the upper into four rooms, three of which will be used for offices and the other and rear room, which is about 30 x 40, is designed for a dancing hall, or for other purposes requiring more space than the common office rooms. It will, however, for the next year or probably longer, be occupied by Burch & Scoby's business college. The brick and stone work on this building was done by Mr. Geo. B. Routt and the carpenter work by Mr. M. Ritzer, both of whom are good mechanics, and have credit for doing a good job on this block. The roof is of tin, and was put on by Messrs. Goodrich & Ensley, the enterprising south-west corner tinners. On the whole, the building is a good one, and speaks well for the enterprise and thrift of Mr. Gasser. Its cost is about $7,000."

George Frederick Gasser (1849-1894) was by trade a grocer and baker who moved his business here from a frame building on the west side of the square. It's had many owners, and names, since.

There's really only one positive thing to do in response this morning. If you know someone who owns one of our historic buildings and consistently devotes to it the time, energy and financial resources needed to keep it in good repair --- say thank you!


blaine pigsley said...

Yes sad, i have strictly restored brick buildings for over 20 years and hate seeing this .. i always even discounted bids due to no incoming money from buildings... Really hard to get someone who doesnt make money out of it to spend money just so it can look beautiful again..Alot slap tin over it or just let it go ...Breaks my heart,love the old town squares and brick buildings.. A building just fell in Albia Iowa recently but it wont be the last. Ttown looks great cause they paint town buildings every 2 3 years but they dont fix the water mortar and caulking problem.. It will be a shame.

Melissa Lu said...

Any chance Clark Grocers moved there at some point? Know Will A Clark and Sons had a grocery and a restaurant. If not there are u aware of another Chariton Square location? . Any insight appreciated.
Thx Melissa

Frank D. Myers said...

Yes, Will A. Clark operated out of this building, renting a storefront from Lew Bonnet, I think --- who owned the building at the time.

Anonymous said...

Old brick buildings in Moulton, Moravia, Albia and now Chariton have aall gone down recently. Sad indeed.

Anonymous said...

I seen it Friday evening. :(