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Historic house listed as endangered

Published: Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 11:20 a.m. CDT

DAVENPORT (AP) — A historic house in Davenport has been deemed one of Iowa’s most endangered properties, and city officials hope it can be fixed up in the future.

The Lambrite-Iles Peterson House, built in 1857, was recently placed on a list of endangered properties compiled by Preservation Iowa, the Quad-City Times reported. Ryan Rusnak, a community planner for the city, said he applied for the designation nearly a year ago on behalf of the Davenport Historic Preservation Commission.

“The state recognizes that it’s an important structure, and that it’s threatened,” he said.

Rusnak added that the designation will be a tool to raise awareness about the house’s importance. It’s currently boarded up to stabilize it and no utilities are connected to it. It was deemed uninhabitable by the city in 2010.

The City Council declared the house a local landmark in July 2012. It was designed by John C. Cochrane, the architect behind the Illinois and Iowa state capitol buildings.

The Italian villa-style home has had many owners over the years but it’s been privately owned by Gordon Muller since 1981. The newspaper reported that Muller could not be reached for comment.

Muller is credited with helping to restore the house years ago and turning it back into a single-family home instead of apartment units.

Local officials say the property is in disarray. Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba said the house is becoming a nuisance, although property taxes have been paid. Alderman Bill Boom added the house is hurting property values in the neighborhood where it’s located.

“I keep trying to get legal out in front of it and it peters out,” Boom said. “I’m in favor of taking it by eminent domain. We have a group of people who have money that would be willing to buy it, fix it up and possibly live there.”

The Gateway Redevelopment Group wants to acquire the house and is trying to raise funds to document, stabilize and market it. The organization’s website says it has raised more than $38,000 so far.