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January 31, 2013

Historic building demolished

Wall collapsed at East Market Street Building

The historic Greensfelder Building at 313 East Market St. was demolished Wednesday after an exterior wall and interior partition collapsed.

An employee of the Logansport streets department notified city officials at 11:03 a.m. Wednesday about the collapsed wall. A demolition crew from D&G Construction initially demolished the back half of the building but had to demolish the entire building after it was not stabilized by late afternoon.

City building commissioner Bill Drinkwine said the building was unoccupied at the time of the collapse.

The gas and electric were disconnected from the building at about noon.

George Franklin, the city’s code enforcement officer, said the demolition crew was working to secure the building earlier in the day, but that they feared parts of the building were still unsafe.

“You can see parts of the building starting to wave in the wind,” Franklin said.  

In addition to the demolished wall, he said floor joists were visible and part of the roof rafter system was dangling in the space.

Contacted at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Drinkwine said they were in the process of demolishing the building because it was still structurally unsound.

“We could never get to a stabilized point,” Drinkwine said.

Franklin said he was not sure what had caused the collapse or when the wall had collapsed.

Indiana Landmarks, a nonprofit organization that saves and rehabilitates historic properties, took over the property in 2003 after a corner of the building had collapsed. Todd Zeiger, director of the northern regional office, said they took over the building, which was designated as a local landmark, because they wanted to maintain the appearance of the historical block.

“The intention was to try and avoid having another empty lot in the downtown area,” Zeiger said.

The project was funded by Indiana Landmarks’ Endangered Places Loan Fund, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s RECAP Program and the city’s facade grant program.

Zeiger said large deal of repair was needed on the building, when the facade weakened in 2005, and when they later renovated the exterior in 2009.

“We went through significant rehab on the building which is why this demolition is so difficult,” Zeiger said.  

The building was sold in June 2011 to Maria Jaquith, a California-based author, who had plans to turn the space into a bookstore and cafe. Zeiger said Jaquith was not able to fulfill her project and had put the building up for sale.

“She wasn’t able to make the project work that she had dreamed about,” Zeiger said.

The sale price of the building was listed at $57,000, according to the Logansport Economic Development Foundation website.

Zeiger said that Jaquith remains the owner of the building.

A working phone number for Jaquith could not be found Wednesday.

Terri Hawes, a member of Logansport Historic preservation commission and wife of former Pharos-Tribune managing editor Kelly Hawes, said she was sad to see the building demolished after the city had worked to preserve it.

“It’s a sad, sad day in Logansport,” Hawes said. “A lot of people put a lot of money and a lot of resources and a lot of hard work in that building to try to save it.”

Zeiger said he was also disappointed to see the building come down.

“It certainly isn’t the end we had hoped for,” Zeiger said. “But sometimes things happen I guess.”

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or caitlin.huston@pharostribune.com.

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