Building On The Past

 
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Note: this article appeared in the Senior Circuit, article by Cathy Koerperich - Horizon Asset Management.
Exterior work on Henry Stout Apartments
Exterior work on Henry Stout Apartments
A New look to a familiar face... On December 24, 1997, amidst a fair amount of controversy, the Iowa Inn at the corner of Ninth & Iowa closed its doors for the last time.
Today, the building is once again bustling with activity as construction crews prepare for the summer opening of Henry Stout Senior Apartments, a 33-unit income restricted building for persons 55 and older.
Five years in the making - the completed project will retain all of the architecturally significant features of the original construction.
The history behind Henry Stout Apartments dates back to 1894 when H.L. Stout gave his home - then valued at $20,000 to the YMCA. Soon after the donation of the house, construction began on the adjacent lot for a building consisting of a gymnasium and two floors of residence rooms.
Henry Stout's impact on Dubuque is why the Henry Stout Apartments underwent a name change recently. Formerly known as Cornerstone Apartments, Henry Stout Apartments now carries the name of a man who started out as a salesman for Knapp-Tainter Lumber Company. Mr. Stout was so successful that in time he became a partner in the firm. In 1854 the company's name was changed to Knapp-Stout Lumber. Under Henry Stout's leadership, the firm would grow extensively. In 1896 the firm operated saw mills/distribution centers in Dubuque, Menominee, Fort Madison, Cedar Falls, Downsville and Leper, Missouri. Between 1901-03 the company would be sold.
Stout was active in many other businesses in Dubuque. He served on the Board of Directors and as an officer in the following companies: Dubuque and Sioux City Railroad, Dubuque-Dakota RR, Dunleith and Dubuque Bridge Company, People's Savings Bank, Commercial National Savings Bank and Farley Loetscher Mfg. He also introduced harness racing to Dubuque with the development of the Highland Stock Farm/Nutwood Park Race Track.
Frank Stout would follow in his father's footsteps and become president of the Knapp-Stout Lumber Company. He was also involved in many other business ventures; the most notable is the Star Electric Company, which was a predecessor to the Dubuque Electric Co, which was a predecessor to Interstate Power Company.
The Stout families were also strong philanthropists, giving generously to the Finley Hospital, Iowa Home of the Friendless and the YMCA. Today the Stout name can still be heard in Dubuque with the Carnegie-Stout Library and Stout House Historical site, and most recently, Henry Stout Senior Apartments.
In 1916, the Stout home was demolished and replaced by a five-story building. This structure housed administrative offices, two meeting rooms, sixty-two residence rooms, lockers, club room, handball court, swimming pool, weightlifting room and health center. These two structures were home to the YMCA until the currently building at 35 North Booth opened in 1971.
After the YMCA left its downtown location, the buildings became the Iowa Inn, originally owned by Darlene Allendorf. The Allendorfs transformed the building into a hotel for men with 60 rooms each rented for approximately $100 a month. The Allendorfs closed the pool, but allowed the gym to be rented out for extra income. In 1992, the building was sold to Max Damaso of Dubuque, and Max operated the building until it was sold to the Iowa Housing Corporation. The building was closed on December 24, 1997 and its inhabitants relocated to other housing options in Dubuque. Interior remodeling of Henry Stout Apartments
Interior remodeling of Henry Stout Apartments
Even for those of us too young to remember the YMCA at this location, it's hard not to get caught up in the history and aura of the building. As we followed the construction foreman in and out of corridors and hallways it was as if we were stepping back in time, to an era when life was simpler, when Saturday nights were spent at dances at the YMCA, and when swimming lessons were the highlight of the week. As I glance at the lockers still intact in the basement, I can't help but wonder what ever became of those that shared lockers, and if any will come back to live at the apartments thus returning to happier, simpler times themselves.
Since the closing of the Iowa Inn, plans have been underway for the apartments. The project is being made possible through a $3.5 million investment by Alliant Energy Resources through its affordable housing subsidiary, Heartland Properties, Inc. and additional financial support is being provided by the City of Dubuque, the Iowa Finance Authority, and other federal resources.
MetroPlains Development, LLC of Minneapolis, MN is the developer of the project, and Horizon Management of Dubuque and Verona, WI will manage the building. The Henry Stout Senior Apartments project is part of an on-going effort by the City of Dubuque to revitalize the downtown area. The fully renovated building will be handicapped accessible with elevator service to all floors, close to bus routes and downtown attractions.

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