Kendall building rehab receives ‘Preservation at Its Best’ award

The Kendall Building, once a busy pool hall and now the home of Sensibly Chic on the south side of Jefferson’s downtown square, was awarded a “Preservation at Its Best” award at an awards event Aug. 28 in Waterloo.

Preservation Iowa gave 11 awards in nine categories. Each year Preservation Iowa seeks to honor historic preservation successes. The goal is to inspire others to take action to preserve, protect and promote Iowa’s historic resources; and to highlight work being done around the state to preserve historic infrastructures by repurposing them to allow reintegration into their local communities.

Mike Palmer (center) and Nick Sorensen (right) accepted a “Preservation at Its Best” award from Caleb Giesel, Preseron behalf of the city of Jefferson.

The Kendall Building at 111 E. Lincoln Way received the award in the “commercial- small” category.

It was built in 1916 after the preceding framed building there burned. Th structure is a two-story Prairie/Craftsman style with 1,122 square ft. in the original building. Kendall’s Pool room featured a front smoking room and seven billiard tables. Kendall’s Pool Room was open until 1955.

The building housed retail merchants until safety concerns over the viability of the foundation closed it to public use. By 2015, it was run-down and abandoned, and the roof was in danger of collapsing into the building.

The city of Jefferson purchased it for $50 and the city council committed $150,000 to renovate the building. Jefferson is one of only a few Iowa towns with an intact downtown square, and allowing the building to continue to deteriorate would have jeopardized the integrity of the square.

Rosie and Ray Tucker moved back to Jefferson and were interested in relocating their business, Sensibly Chic, in the building, Rosie is the granddaughter of the original Kendall family.

In 2016 Jefferson Matters: Main Street and the city of Jefferson were awarded a Main Street Challenge Grant for a total restoration with retail in the first level and an apartment on the second level.

The renovation included stabilizing the foundation, removing asbestos, stripping down the entire building and putting on a new roof. The original billiard hall floors were refinished, the original tin ceiling was restored, and new store windows were installed. Exterior stairs were added to the second level.

Restoration began in the fall of 2016 and Sensibly Chic opened in September 2017. The upstairs apartment was ready for the Tuckers to move in the next month.

Nick Sorensen later presented the award to building owner Rosie Tucker.

The Preservation at Its Best award was accepted on behalf of the city of Jefferson by city administrator Mike Palmer and city building/zoning coordinator Nick Sorensen. Sorensen later presented the award to Rosie Tucker.

Preservation Iowa is a statewide nonprofit historic preservation organization dedicated to advocacy, education and the creation of partnerships that enhance the economic and cultural future through the preservation of Iowa’s historic resources.

Last April Main Street Iowa awarded the Kendall Building rehabilitation project was awarded Honorable Mention in the total building rehabilitation category.

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