Brick by brick

The historical four-story Italianate style mid-block commercial brick building dubbed the Blossom Block is under intense rehabilitation.

Construction recently kicked off to polish and update the building with historical factors kept in mind.

“We’re trying to do it right,” said Bob McGregor, vice president of McGregors Furniture and head of the Blossom Block rehabilitation project.

McGregors Furniture in Marshalltown owns the Blossom Block, the buildings stand side by side.

Westbrooke Construction in Des Moines was hired for the job – they are also the company restoring the old Iowa Wholesale building.

All companies are working together with Main Street Iowa and the Central Business District to ensure the building retains its historical value.

“They just rehabilitate historical buildings so they are very in tune with what is required,” said Erin McGregor, director of operations for McGregors.

The brick is being repointed and repaired as well as repainted using a more traditional “brick” color for the masonry.

The decorative metal cornice at the top of the building is being worked on as well as some window sills, hoods and stone trim elements.

“The Blossom Block has some historical value and we recognize that,” Bob McGregor said. “We’re just trying to spruce up our part of the neighborhood.”

The Blossom Block was originally constructed in 1882 as a three-story building and was purchased by C.H. Blossom in 1883. The fourth story was added in 1903 – this addition at the turn of the 20th century made it the tallest building on West Main Street.

The building is 40 feet wide with an overall height of 64 feet.

Portions of the interior remain largely unaltered since the turn of the 20th century. Businesses that inhabited the building in past years include Hawkeye Mercantile Co., Ryder Furniture and Home Furniture.

The fourth floor was the HC for the Marshalltown Women’s Club for a couple of years.

Recently McGregors has occupied the second and third floors while the Main Street Antique Mall – a business well suited to the building’s period interior, resides on the first.

Officials hope the renovation will wrap up by Sept. 12.