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Northwood Building Wins Historic Preservation Award

June 10, 2019 07:14 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Last week, the State Historical Society of Iowa and the nonprofit group, Preservation Iowa, presented the state's highest awards for historic preservation to the I.O.O.F.-Erickson building in Northwood.

The award is presented to projects that exemplify the best practices of historic preservation. The building was built in 1896 and is the largest operating structure within the Central Avenue Historic District in Northwood, and was the only small-town project to win the award.

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Worth Brewing Company and the Bee Hive Ballroom now occupy the space. Peter Ausenhus, co-owner of Worth Brewing Company, says he still gets customers coming in and reminiscing about the building's history.

"We've got a lot of people who've come in and said, 'oh, my aunt ran the department store here," and 'I remember there's a scary bathroom in the basement here,' and I said yeah, it's still here," Ausenhus said.

Just four years ago, the building was abandoned and in poor condition, with a deteriorating roof. The building now hosts events in the restored Bee Hive Ballroom and houses the popular Worth Brewing Company. Former Northwood mayor and current state representative, Jane Bloomingdale, says this is something that the state of Iowa likes to see.

"The governor this year, her focus is all on empowering rural Iowa and really working with maintaining our small towns and encouraging growth in our small towns; so this is just part of it," Bloomingdale said.

The preservation quite literally brought back a piece of time.

Ausenhus explains how a buried treasure was discovered during renovation: "When we were taking up some of the rotten flooring upstairs, our contractor noticed some paint underneath the floor and luckily he stopped and carefully pulled up the panel. It was a 1940's restaurant menu board. It was a hand-painted sign showing advertisements for different business in Northwood at the time. We were able to kind of jigsaw the 100 slivers of wood back together and bound it back up,” he said.

“You can't get a 60 cent T-bone anymore, but it's still a fun thing to have up on the wall."

Credits

Brett Bachtle

Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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