Historic building demolished on W. Main

Structure retired after 138 years

The life of a structure that stood since 1880 came to an end this week.

Dr. David Clark, a local dentist and owner of the historic property at 211 W. Main St., said it was not feasible to keep the building around and demolition work began Monday.

“I have practiced in that location since 1987, I was fortunate enough to work with Dr. John Wells and I joined him when I started working as a dentist in that office,” Clark said. “When I joined Dr. Wells, we dubbed it the ‘Wells-Clark Building.'”

Many travelers along West Main Street early this week noticed the large rubble pile where the two-story building once stood.

“It’s somewhat of a bittersweet thing to take that building down,” he said. “I appreciate historic buildings but this one had problems with the foundation and the roof, so we decided to take it down.”

Clark, who also runs the Clark Dentistry practice at 101 W. Southridge Rd., said the old structure has “had an interesting history” since it was constructed almost 140 years ago.

“There have been offices upstairs — for example Leonard Grimes, who was a lawyer here in town and also the town mayor, had an office up there,” Clark said. “Dr. David Twedt practiced in that building as a dentist, as did Dr. (Max) Mills.”

Local historian Jay Carollo dug into the building’s history after it came down.

“As far as I can tell, that building did not become a lawyer and dentist office until about 1950,” he said. “Prior to that, it was a residence of people by the name of Tilton and had been for quite a few years.”

The earliest primary owner he found was Martha Tilton, starting in 1927. Carollo said he remembers the building from the 1960s when his family moved to Marshalltown from Westchester County, New York.

“When we wanted to go back to visit relatives we flew and there was a travel agency called the McIntire Travel Agency,” he said. “We were able to buy our United Airlines tickets and they … typed your information into a ticket, you bought your airline tickets and train tickets and things like that right there.”

Carollo said the building has always been yellow or beige in color since he could remember. He said it “just always jumped out” to passersby because of its color and clay tile roof design.

Clark said the property does have a future despite the demolition of the old building. He said it “lived a full and productive life” as a dentist office.

“We’re considering some different options,” Clark said. “We’re looking forward to, potentially, some new building starting a new, long life at that location but right now there are no plans for what would go into that spot.”


Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com