Historic District Commission approves demolition of 1910 building despite protest from restoration expert

Citing the rapidly declining structural integrity of the building at 200 North St., the city of Hannibal’s Historic District Development Commission (HDDC) voted Monday evening to allow a planned demolition of the structure to proceed.

“The building needs to come down. It is not salvageable,” said Mike Kettelkamp of the HDDC regarding the structure that was constructed in 1910.

Voicing a differing opinion regarding whether the building should be spared from the wrecking ball was Bob Yapp, a restoration and architectural conservation expert.

“I do believe the building can be saved,” he said, noting that the building’s walls are still plumb.

Yapp added that students from his Belvedere School for Hands-On Preservation would not only stabilize the building, but would completely restore it with all free labor. Yapp said volunteers could stabilize the structure as soon as this coming weekend.

Kettelkamp was skeptical that such a feat could be accomplished over the course of a weekend.

“From what I’ve seen of the building you’re not going to stabilize it that quick,” he said. “That thing is about gone. I don’t care if the walls are vertical all the way around, the roof is ready to cave in and the west wall is not attached to the foundation.

“It needs to come down. It just needs to come down.”

Lyndon Bode represented his parents — the building’s owners, Clarence and Ada Jo Bode — before the HDDC during Monday’s meeting at City Hall. He said the structure, which his parents have owned since 1974, is now a hazard.

“Safety is the whole issue. If it were possible to save the building, it would be saved,” he said. “Structure-wise there have been changes over the past couple of weeks, and not just minor changes, but some pretty significant changes.

“We have hundreds of tourists going up and down those steps (to the lighthouse) and I sure don’t want the city of Hannibal making news because a collapsed building killed somebody while on a trip here.”

Bode noted that it is not just visitors who are hiking up and down Cardiff Hill.

“We also have a lot of locals going up and down the steps every day,” he said. “It’s quite an exercise routine for a number of people and I don’t want any of them getting hurt.”

One of the Hannibal residents using the lighthouse steps on a regular basis is HDDC member Kristy Trevathan.

“I have noticed the (building’s) deterioration over the past few years and it has progressively gotten worse,” she said. “I think it (building) is a safety hazard as it stands right now.”

Yapp contended that the building, which he called an “icon of downtown,” would not be targeted for demolition if the owners had performed regular maintenance over the years and if city ordinances pertaining to the upkeep of structures had been enforced.

Bode refuted the suggestion that his parents did not adequately maintain the building.

“It is an old wood structure that is totally worn out. There was no neglect,” he said. “It is time for it to come down.”

Agreeing that it was time for the building to be demolished were HDDC members Kettelkamp, Trevathan and Steve Ayers. Commission member Sara North abstained.

Following the demolition, the Bodes, who will retain ownership of the property, intend on converting the site into green space.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com