West Branch Commercial Historic District

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
West Branch Commercial Historic District
West branch downtown.jpg
West Branch Commercial Historic District is located in Iowa
West Branch Commercial Historic District
Location N. Downey and E. and W. Main Sts., West Branch, Iowa
Coordinates 41°40′17″N 91°20′48″W / 41.67139°N 91.34667°W / 41.67139; -91.34667Coordinates: 41°40′17″N 91°20′48″W / 41.67139°N 91.34667°W / 41.67139; -91.34667
Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Architect Multiple
Architectural style Prairie School, Commercial Style
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 87000028[1] (original)
90000158 (increase 1)
95000386 (increase 2)
Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 7, 1987
Boundary increases February 23, 1990
April 7, 1995

The downtown district of West Branch, Iowa is part of the West Branch Commercial Historic District. Multiple architectural styles are represented. The historic and endangered[2] Gruwell and Crew General Store is also part of the district.


The West Branch Commercial Historic District recognizes sixteen buildings that refkect the evolution of West Branch, Iowa into an important commercial center. This change largely occurred around 1900, when wooden storefronts were demolished in favor of ornate commercial blocks.[3]

The oldest building in the district, the Grinnell Building at 112 West Main Street, may date back to 1869. Shortly after it was built, Nate Crook opened a restaurant and barber shop in a building at 102 W. Main. He later expanded the building to become a hotel and livery. The West Branch Bank opened at 104 W. Main in 1875, though it moved across the street three years later. The next period of growth was the 1890s. The Union Block, Citizens' Savings Bank, Gruwell and Crew General Store, Patterson-Leech Building, and Rich and Bailey Block were built during this decade. The 1890s also saw the construction of the ornate Opera Block, commissioned by Charles A. Macomber. Three stores shared the first story, while the second story was used by the Freemasons and had a 500 seat theater.[3]

On April 7, 1987, the district was recognized by the National Park Service with a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Gruwell and Crew General Store had previously been recognized individually on September 09, 1982. Additional buildings were added to the district on February 23, 1990 and April 7, 1995. The 1907 Winery Building, which served as West Branch's post office and later a full-service gas station, collapsed on June 11, 2010.[4]

Contributing properties[edit]


See also[edit]