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Historic Gas Station Set to Move Saturday; Fundraising Push Continues
Des Moines, Ia.--The historic gas station located at 203 E. Grand in downtown Des Moines will be moved to a temporary location at E. 3rd and E. Walnut Saturday, April 4, 2009 between 7 a.m. and noon. The public is invited to come and watch the event.
Jeremy Patterson House Moving from Washington, Iowa, was hired to conduct the move by project contractor Mike Kinter, Kinter Construction, Des Moines. Historic East Village, Inc., hired Kinter at its February board meeting when it agreed to lead the effort to save the gas station and become its temporary owner until a permanent owner and location can be found.
In mid-March, HEV signed an agreement with Hansen Companies to utilize a portion of its property, the former Bud Mulcahy Jeep lot at E. 3rd and E. Walnut, through late July 2009. The gas station will be "parked" there as HEV continues its efforts to secure a permanent home for it. HEV will also be working on a strategy in the event no prospects come forth.
"The gas station is still very much endangered," said Historic East Village President Sarah Oltrogge. "Although we've overcome the first hurdle to save it, there is still much to be done to find a permanent location for the building. If none is found in the next few months, we're going to have to make some tough choices."
To date, nearly $40,000 has been raised to offset moving expenses. Funding has been received from the Patty and Jim Cownie Charitable Fund of the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation, the State Historical Society of Iowa, ConocoPhilips Corporation and many private organizations and individuals. DesignSmith has also donated services in-kind and been instrumental in ensuring the historic integrity of the gas station is maintained. The estimated cost to move the gas station is $60,000-$70,000.
HEV continues its urgent push to raise the additional funds needed to save the gas station. Pledge forms and more information can be found at www.eastvillagedesmoines.com.
HEV will also be launching a "Buy a Brick" campaign as a fundraiser to help with gas station expenses. Anyone donating more than $50 to the effort will receive a salvaged brick from the gas station with a metallic plaque affixed depicting an engraved historical image and description of the building. More information on the campaign will be available at www.eastvillagedesmoines.c
The gas station building dates back to 1931 when it was erected by The Continental Oil Company (now ConocoPhillips) as a training station for gas dealers. Constructed of terra cotta in the Spanish Mission Revival style of architecture, the building served the east side of downtown Des Moines as a gas and service station nearly 80 years. JSC Properties, which is owned by Jim Cownie, acquired the property in August of 2008 as part of a larger real estate transaction. Cownie plans to develop the property as a parking lot.
JSC Properties had talked with potential buyers who wanted to save the building. Ultimately, none of those discussions progressed because of the high costs involved in moving and construction. Initial research determined the building is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, though it is not currently listed. HEV is working with the State Historic Preservation Office to ensure the move is handled in a manner that does not jeopardize the historic character of the building.
In October 2008, the Des Moines Rehabber's Club named the structure one of seven "Most Endangered Properties" in Des Moines.