This downtown building predates the Civil War; why the city of Janesville has to tear it down

This downtown building predates the Civil War; why the city of Janesville has to tear it down

The demolition of the building at 13 N, Main St. in downtown Janesville began Monday, after the city and the property owner could not reach an agreement to repair the building.

The building, which is believed to have been built in the 1850s, was in disrepair, according to Janesville’s building director, Tom Clippert.

“Floors were missing,” he said. “There were big holes in the floor in the first floor. I did not go up to the second floor ever because there was a safety issue.”

Clippert said over the course of the last several years, the city has been working with owner Bruce Monson to make repairs, issuing a raze or repair order months ago.

“The situation with the building continued to deteriorate until the point it became a safety issue for the community,” Clippert said.

Some have voiced concern since the building’s removal began, saying the building’s historic past means it warrants another chance at rehabilitation.

“It’s a 166-year-old building that’s original to a block,” said Jackie Wood, of the Rock County Historical Society. “It’s a unique-looking building, and it speaks for the early history of Janesville. When they’re gone, they’re gone.”

Wood said she’s upset that preservation wasn’t an option.

“People in the future need something to tell them what was there before them. We need the older properties to speak for that history and tell a story,” she said.

Clippert said he’s not sure what will take the building’s place in the future.

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