Bruch-Guertler House in Alton, Illinois added to list of endangered historic places

9:40 PM, Apr 24, 2012   |    comments
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Bruch-Guertler House

By Ann Rubin

Alton, IL (KSDK) - The list just came out Tuesday and an Alton home has been named among the top ten most endangered historic places in Illinois.

The organization Landmarks Illinois puts out the list each year.

But preservationists say it's not too late to save the Bruch-Guertler House.

"It sure would be more enjoyable if we got it restored because it could be really breathtaking," said Eric Shultis, Vice President of the Alton Area Landmarks Association.

It's small but historically significant, he says, an example of the craftsmanship of Alton's early limestone masons.

Unfortunately, the Bruch-Guertler House has fallen into disrepair.

Now, the Gothic revival cottage has been named one of the top ten most endangered historic places in Illinois.

But really, this isn't a bad thing according to Shultis.

"It's a good thing for the owner, especially since he's interested in selling," he said.

The owner was unavailable for comment. But according to the Landmarks Association he has been unable to maintain the property and has been cited for it by the city.

Now association is hoping this dubious distinction might attract some positive attention, maybe even bringing in a buyer who wants to fix things up and move right in.

"Living in it, keeping the building alive. That's the best situation, that's what we're aiming for," said Shultis.

And with the building's new endangered status may come access to grants, support and even tax incentives.

Down the street at the Alton Owls Club, they hope someone will rise to the challenge.

"I'd like to see it stay there and kept in shape to where it's a landmark for the city," said member George Hailer.

"An old piece like that, it would take a lot to bring it into first class shape, but it'd be well worth it for the right person," said another member, Dick Disher.

When Ignatz Bruch built the home in the 1850s, he actually used limestone from the bluffs right behind it. Preservationists say this tie to Alton's past shouldn't be severed.

"It's the fabric of our community that you start to see go. So yeah, we want to fight for this one," said Shultis.

Anyone interested in the property should contact the Alton Area Landmarks Association.
Terry Sharp, President
Box 232, Alton, IL 62002



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