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732 Gaines Street Davenport IA 52802



Headline: Historic grocery store building getting new life from renovation
Byline: John Willard
Publication Date: June 10, 2005
Page: A4


A rare example of Davenport's Civil War-era commercial architecture is on its way to reopening this fall as an architectural salvage shop, thanks to dedicated volunteers.

The structure is the old Jipp grocery store at 732 Gaines St. in the Hamburg, or Gold Coast, historic district. It is owned by the Gateway Development Group, a not-for-profit organization formed by neighbors to save abandoned structures in the neighborhood.

The group recently received a $35,000 grant from the Riverboat Development Authority. The money, along with a grant received earlier this spring from the State Historical Society of Iowa, provides $70,000 for continued restoration.

In addition, dozens of businesses and organizations have provided in-kind contributions ranging from architectural services to dead tree removal.

At the very spot where caddies of soda crackers and barrels of pickles once greeted customers, shoppers of today soon will find architectural antiques such as woodwork, windows and other items rescued from old buildings.

The business will be known as the Architectural Rescue Shop at the Jipp.

Once an eyesore topping the city's demolition list, the store and attached house at the top of the Gaines Street hill have made a dramatic comeback since Gateway Development took on the project a year ago.

Debris-filled rooms have given way to charming spaces, some of which have views of the Rock Island Centennial Bridge. The old storefront has been opened in preparation for restoration, utilities re-connected and an intrusive addition removed.

The latest grant money will allow work to continue on installing a cedar shake roof, re-building the storefront, installing a floor and adding mechanical equipment.

Jack Haberman, president of Gateway Development Group, attributes the momentum to dedicated neighbors. "We didn't want to let it go. We just keep plugging away," he said.

The old Jipp store is among the oldest structures in the Hamburg Historic District. Generally bounded by 5th, 9th, Ripley and Vine streets, the neighborhood high on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River was favored by the city's German-born business and professional leaders in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Among the immigrants providing services was Christian Jipp, a native of Schleswig-Holstein. In 1868, he built the store and lived in the back with his wife, Henrietta, and their three children until he could afford to build the attached house 10 years later.

After he retired in the early 1900s, others operated it as a grocery store until 1958. Later uses included a coin-operated laundry. As the neighborhood declined due to economic change, so did the old Jipp store.

In 1997, a group of Gold Coast residents announced their intent to acquire the property for use as a museum and neighborhood center, but the plans fell through.

The not-for-profit Architectural Rescue Shop will take donations of antique plumbing fixtures, doors, windows and other architectural antiques from homes being razed or renovated and sell them. The shop also will showcase historical displays relating to the store's history and that of the neighborhood and will serve as a resource center for people interesting in preserving old homes.

During the last two decades, the Hamburg Historic District has been making a comeback as old house buffs reclaim the older mansions. The Gateway Development Group hopes to help in those efforts.

The group's hard work to preserve the old store should serve as a model of what can be done in a neighborhood where more than 300 structures are classified as historic, but of which more than two dozen are listed as abandoned properties.

In endorsing the Jipp project for its Riverboat Development Authority grant request, Kenneth Oestreich, secretary to the Davenport Historic Preservation Commission, wrote: "I have never seen a group comparable to the Gateway Development Group. They have an uncanny ability, through the use of volunteers, to do renovation on a shoestring."

Anyone wishing to donate items to the Architectural Rescue Shop can contact Haberman at (563) 326-3290 or marionjack@peoplepc.com.

John Willard can be contacted at (563) 383-2314 or jwillard@qctimes.com.

Gateway Redevelopment Group, Davenport, Iowa