Salvaging historic Mason City homes

MASON CITY, Iowa – Mason City residents are taking one last look at homes being salvaged after the floods of 2008.

Five years have passed since James Kuhlman left his home on the heels of record flooding in Mason City, but he wasn’t the only one.

Several homes in the neighborhood have since been either relocated or on the brink of demolition, and for James, it was hard to let go.

“We first looked into the possibility of moving it and that was gonna just be not really easily done. It would be very costly and so we had to make that decision and move on,” said James Kuhlman of Mason City.

In an effort to try to save some of the items in the home, those with the Habitat ReStore in Mason City are using what’s left to help the community.

“What we’re trying to do is salvage good usable items so that we can bring back to the ReStore and sell to the public. Then all of those proceeds go directly back to Habitat for humanity to build safe and affordable houses for needy families,” said Brian Lewerke, Manager of Habitat ReStore of Mason City.

Although there are mixed reviews to the demolition of the historic homes, those with ReStore say others should be encouraged by their main goal.

“Other people are disappointed because it’s gonna be a big open area that’s void of houses but the nice thing is they know what we’re doing in salvaging the items. That we are saving items from the landfill and they’re happy with that. So I think they understand the goal of Habitat and the city,” said Lewerke.

“It does have a piece of history being built in 1938 and it’s just gonna be sad to see it go down,” said Kuhlman.

The home is set for demolition on Monday and another round of homes are also on the block for next week as well.

James says he hopes to make one last stop to the home next week in hopes of grabbing a small memoir of the home he and his family spent 29 years in.

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