Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 23, 2014

Bank donates 19th-century home to nonprofit group

Jul 21, 2014

DAVENPORT (AP) — A bank has donated a 19th-century brick home in Iowa to a nonprofit in hopes the group can find someone to buy and fix it up.

The vacant brick home in Davenport, which has an open staircase, wooden floors and a marble fireplace, was donated by Wells Fargo bank to nonprofit organization Hilltop Campus Village.

The home was built by George Smiley, whom the Quad-City Times reported is believed to be an American Civil War veteran who ran a tin and stove company in the community. It isn’t known when the house was built, but Smiley and his wife Sarah lived there in 1868.

Davenport city planner Ryan Rusnak said the house “‘’is almost a relic of what that landscape looked like” when it was built in the 1800s. The home is now surrounded by concrete buildings.

The house “tells a story of the past use,” he said. “That’s what’s cool about it.”

Scott Tunnicliff, the nonprofit’s director, said the building could be used for residential or commercial purposes, or maybe both. The first floor could be used for a business and the second for residential living.

He said the building could be a cornerstone for commerce and the neighborhood.

“We want someone to rejuvenate it and make it vital again,” he said.

The foreclosed home was boarded up by the city in January 2011 after its windows were broken and the property was vandalized.

In 2013, Wells Fargo gave more than 1,600 bank-owned properties to nonprofit organizations and cities nationwide for redevelopment.

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