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Historic Nora Springs home being demolished

Once the home of one of the town's earliest settlers, years of deterioration and vandalism prompted current owner to demolish it

Posted: Oct. 18, 2018 7:56 PM

NORA SPRINGS, Iowa - It's a historic landmark, one of the earliest homes built in Nora Springs. And now, it's being torn down.

Crews began demolishing the Gaylord Mansion Wednesday evening, with the rest of the house coming down Thursday.

Colleen Shanks grew up in Nora Springs, and knows the historic significance of the house, as it was built by one of the first settlers, Edson Gaylord.

"Mr. Gaylord was the first man or one of the first to settle in our area, so it has a lot of historic implications."

And it was built with materials he found on his land.

"100,000 bricks and the 500 bushels of lime. He made the brick. The lime was on his property, and so he had access to lime so that he could build these bricks."

But over the years, it deteriorated, and was a frequent target of trespassers and vandals that would break in and spray graffiti on the walls, as well as erroneously rumored to be a haunted house.

Charlotte Ranney bought the property in 2003, and despite efforts to keep unwanted people away and wanting to retain the house, made the final decision to tear the house down.

Denver Larson with Larson Salvage is in in charge of that important task.

"I've watched it deteriorate over time from everybody going in and out of there and trashing it."

The hope is to save some contents of the house during demolition.

"A bunch of it is going to be saved, so we're going to take it a little bit by little bit as we go and save what we can."

Ranney tells KIMT that once the house is torn down, she plans to build a new structure on the property, though not on the old foundation.

The property initially housed the first house in the area, a log cabin also built by Gaylord, before the brick house was completed.

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