Clinton shares history through architecture

Development keeps history in mind

By Carie Kuehn |

Published 10/19 2016 06:33PM

Updated 10/19 2016 06:33PM

Historic preservation continues to be a priority as Clinton develops.

Tuesday, the Roosevelt School Building reopened after a $4.8 million renovation to be 16 new apartment units. The building was built in the late nineteenth century, and is part of the preservation effort in Clinton. 

The next step is to rehab the Wilson Building downtown. It will also be turned into apartments.

It is important for people in Clinton to preserve these buildings because of the story they tell about Clinton's history.

"From the 1850's to the 1900's, the sawmill industry was a big part of Clinton," said Sawmill Museum volunteer Bob Alt. "There was more board feet cut in Clinton, Iowa than there was any place else in the world."

"There were a lot of lumber barons in the region who built fantastic homes to showcase what their lumber companies could do," said Clinton Historical Preservation Commission member Chad Jensen.

"We had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the United States," said Clinton City Administrator Jessica Kinser. "We have a very rich history and that's something we try to remember and reflect upon as we look to develop who we are in the future."

As the city develops, it's telling it's story through the architecture. 

"There is so much lost in history," said Sawmill Museum volunteer and lifelong Clintonian Chuck Rutledge.  "The people who have the vision to restore these things is really helping the young kids to enjoy a little bit of the past history."

"You just see so many characteristics of the architecture that you just do not see anymore and once these things are gone they cannot be reproduced,"said Jensen, who is also working to rehabilitate a building in the Lyons District.

Clinton is continuing to save the past, and build the future.

"Clinton is going to grow. We're on the right path," said Rutledge. 

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