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The Wapsipinicon Mill last spring

DES MOINES – The Most Endangered Property program was started in 1995 and implemented to educate Iowans about the special buildings and historic sites that are slowly and gradually slipping away from us.

Preservation Iowa has designated seven properties for 2013 Most Endangered Designations. The Most Endangered Properties program provides an excellent resource for media coverage and introduces owners of an endangered property to preservation advocates and resources that can help preserve their historic property.

Here are the 2013 Most Endangered Properties:

Archaeological Site 13CF27 (Central Plains Tradition), Denison, Crawford County

Civilian Conservation Corps/ Prisoner of War Recreational Hall, Eldora, Hardin County

Lambrite-Iles Peterson House, Davenport, Scott County

Louise Crawford Elementary School, Ames, Story County

Old Hardware/ Sullivan Opera House, McGregor, Clayton County

Redfield Brick & Tile, Redfield, Dallas County

Wapsipinicon Mill Museum, Independence, Buchanan County

The Wapsipinicon Mill Museum is located at 100 1st Street West in the business district of Independence. The massive six-story structure sets on the West bank of the Wapsipinicon River keeping watch over the river and the city. Documentation of its historical significance is its listing on the National Register for Historic Places. The mill is also a partner site with Iowa Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area.

The Wapsipinicon Mill Museum is an architectural icon, built in 1867-1870. The monumental task of building such a massive six-story structure without the use of power tools and lifts remains a secret to visitors.

To our knowledge, there are no other mills of comparable size and construction in the Midwest.

The present condition of the Mill is very good except for the west portion roof. The mold and mildew of the shakes are a cause for concern and they are deteriorating very rapidly. Because of the accelerated roof deterioration, the rafter plates, rafter rails, and sheathing are also deteriorating rapidly. The inside is now being affected by the structural deterioration.

The natural threat to the Mill is water, (rain, snow, and a constant spray from the dam). Lack of financial resources for the enormous roof renovation and restoration project is the human threat.

Need is dramatized by the cornice and soffit pieces falling off and pose a danger to people. The rate of roof and cornice deterioration has accelerated dramatically since 2011. Because of the accelerated roof deterioration, the rafter plates, rafter tails, and sheathing are also deteriorating rapidly.