IOWA CITY, Iowa — The fate of one of the oldest homes in Iowa City remains uncertain following the University of Iowa’s plan to purchase the property.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that university officials are seeking permission from the state Board of Regents to purchase the property and an adjacent apartment for $2.6 million.
The building, also known as the Christus House, is currently home to the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church’s campus ministry program.
The structure was built for the Sanxays family, who were among the city’s first residents, and later was owned by the family of former UI President Eugene Gilmore. It was built before the Civil War, and local historians say it could date as far back as the 1840s.
The Iowa City Historical Preservation Commission said the home is the main structure in the city that needs a local landmark protection.
“I think it is likely the Sanxay house is the oldest extant house in Iowa City built in city limits,” said Alicia Trimble, executive director of Iowa Friends of Historic Preservation.
Church officials said they hope to relocate the historic home to an empty lot that was donated by a local developer. But historic preservation officials fear that relocating the home will diminish its historic integrity.
“The Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission stands ready to work with the university and Gloria Dei to find a solution that will protect this house at this location, which is so important to the history of both UI and the community,” said Ginalie Swaim, who chairs the commission.
University officials have begun a study about whether the property and its surrounding area could be used as the site of a new entrepreneurial center for the business college.
The regents will discuss the issue at an October meeting.
Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/