Thursday, February 10, 2011

Project365: Day 41 - Demolition

Day 41 - Demolition, originally uploaded by Tim Bungert.

The Des Moines Ironworks buidlings was demolished today. Time for another Des Moines History lesson!

The building was originally built as a three-story building in 1878, and was one of Des Moines' earliest hotels downtown. The hotel owner, William Zinsmaster, closed the hotel in 1891 due to lack of business. When visitors to Des Moines arrived on the train at the Rock Island Depot (2 blocks north of this building), they would typically exit on the north side of the train. With the train and tracks blocking their path to the south, most people went north to the Kirkwood, Randolph, and the other hotels on "Hotel Row" instead of Zinsmaster's hotel.

After closing the hotel, Zinsmaster opened the Des Moines Bakery in the same building. The wholesale bakery occupied the building until 1940, when a large fire damaged the building and required the removal of the entire third floor.

After the repairs from the fire were complete, the Des Moines Ironworks moved into the building and occupied it for a very long time. They finally moved out in May of 2010. The building had begun to show its age. Major structural issues became evident on the exterior walls. The brick walls were severely bowed outwards, and large cracks had spread through the walls.

In late 2010, the Des Moines Rehabbers group named the Ironworks building to their annual list of Most Endangered Buildings. Unlike many of the buildings that make this list, this one will not be saved.

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