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732 Gaines Street Davenport IA 52802


Headline: What a Jipp! Neighbors reclaim historic grocery store
Byline: John Willard
Source: Quad-City Times
Publication Date: November 09, 2004
Page: B1

With volunteer labor, donated materials and funding from state and local grants, residents of Davenport's historic Gold Coast-Hamburg neighborhood are rescuing a Civil War-era commercial structure from demolition.

For the past few months, they have been reclaiming the old Jipp grocery store at the southwest corner of 8th and Gaines streets with the hopes of operating an architectural salvage shop. What had been a boarded up derelict for more than 20 years is now hinting of its days as a vibrant commercial structure that stood on Gaines Street when it was a dirt road flanked by wooden sidewalks.

Much remains to be done, but the volunteers are off to a good start. They have removed a floor that had collapsed, torn down a deteriorating 20th century rear addition, uncovered original windows and doors and replicated one of the store's original front columns with bricks salvaged from their work.

"We had to give this building one more chance," said Jack Haberman, the project manager.

In addition to rescuing the structure from the wrecker's bulldozer, he said, the grass-roots effort is aimed at creating a model for saving other abandoned buildings in the neighborhood of turreted Queen Ann mansions and Gothic manors crowning the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River west of downtown.

Generally bounded by 5th, 9th, Ripley and Vine streets, the Gold Coast, or Hamburg, was a residential area favored by the city's German-born business and professional leaders in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The old Jipp grocery store and attached house at 730-732 Gaines St. is among the oldest structures in the neighborhood. Built in 1868 and 1878 by German immigrant Christian Jipp, the structure commands a panoramic view of the Centennial Bridge from its hillside perch. It is one of Davenport's last surviving examples of a store and attached house dating from the 1860s.

Jipp and his family lived in the back of the store until he built the house in 1878. After he retired in the early 1900s, the store continued operating as a market until 1958 when it was converted to a coin-operated laundry.

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 property now is owned by Gateway Development Group, whose principals were involved in the earlier effort. The officers are Harry Thoman, president; John Frueh, vice-president; Haberman, treasurer; and his wife Marion Meginnis, secretary.

After trying unsuccessfully to market the property, they came up with a plan last summer to restore the structure and operate a not-for-profit business they call the Architectural Rescue Shop. The shop would sell such items as doors, woodwork, plumbing fixtures, windows and other architectural antiques salvaged from buildings undergoing demolition.

So far, the group has raised nearly $16,000 toward the $98,300 it needs for a complete restoration. Neighbors and supporters have donated $7,275, with the remainder coming from corporate donations and grants.

The grants have included a $5,500 emergency grant from the State Historical Society of Iowa and a $2,500 stabilization grant from the Riverboat Development Authority. The group is seeking a $47,300 grant from the Riverboat Development Authority to complete the restoration.

A top priority is getting the property buttoned up for winter. Neighbors have been busy building a new wall where the addition was removed.

Carpentry experience is not prerequisite. On a recent afternoon, Dennis LaRoque, a computer programmer; Mike Schroeder, a college professor; Bud Berg, an eyeglass technician; Rich Sherbargh, a furniture salesman; and Wayne Lance, a computer engineer, framed the first floor of the wall.

Volunteers have uncovered such treasures as the home's original front door with its ornate Victorian detailing, the original loading dock, where horse-drawn wagons once pulled up and two bricks bearing the names of "Green" and "John" in keeping with old brick makers' practice of leaving their marks on their handiwork.

Haberman, 59, a retired development engineer for IBM, and his wife moved to the neighborhood seven years ago when she took the job as president and general manage of WQAD-TV8. They have restored an early 20th century foursquare, and he hopes others will see the neighborhood's potential.

"You've got to have a vision," he said.

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


Gateway Redevelopment Group, Davenport, Iowa