Return to glory

Volunteers help restore beloved Vincent House

-Submitted photo
Vincent House, 824 Third Ave. S., is available to rent for special occasions.

In need of a unique venue to host a gathering, reunion or any number of other events? The Vincent House in Fort Dodge is ready to open up its doors for you.

Located at 824 Third Ave. S. in the historic Oak Hill District, the house was built over 150 years ago. Yet, still shines like it hasn’t aged a day since.

Much of that is due to the hard work and dedication of one Corrine (Sis) Canon. Since taking on many projects in 2022, Canon has helped restore the social center for bridal showers, baby showers, graduations, business events, weddings, celebrations of life, family reunions, family holiday gatherings and more.

“We brought Sis on two years ago to help document the contents of the home,” said Dana Oswald, who serves on the YWCA board, which owns the Vincent House. “She looked around and saw that much more needed to be done. The house needed deep cleaning and she realized her organizational and decorating skills could be put to work to restore the home to its magnificent beauty.

“Even at 85 years old, she had found a new purpose in life and was eager to volunteer. She had fallen in love with the home and its rich history.”

-Submitted photo
The interior of Vincent House offers an elegant location for events. To book an event, contact the YWCA at 515-573-3931, ext. 202, and ask for Tina Schroeder, or by email tinas@ywcafd.org.

Archibald Electric was brought in for upgrades for both the electrical and windows that needed to be fixed.

“Mike (Archibald) loves history, especially Fort Dodge history, and he has long admired the home and knew much about it,” Oswald said. “Even after completing the electrical work, he approached Suzanne Sawyer, a YWCA board member, about fixing the windows in the house. They were in terrible condition.

“Mike put in long hours and tedious work of glazing the windows, including many on the second floor which were coming lose from the frame. For the past two summers, he has spent his nights and weekends repairing and painting the house.”

Archibald will tackle the third floor with nine remaining windows this coming summer after completing work on the basement and previous two floors.

During 2023, the house was used for all sorts of various events, with Canon taking on the role of setting up, hosting and cleaning up.

“Even at 87, she still comes twice a week to dust and look after the Vincent House,” Sawyer said. “The YWCA board is so thankful for all the love and hard work both Sis and Mike have put into the house. Thanks to their efforts, the home should be in good condition for many decades to come.

“The vision that Ann Vincent and Catherine Vincent Deardorf had when they bequeathed their family home to the YWCA in 1969 is still very much alive today,”

Nici George is the executive director who oversees operations of the Vincent House. Erin Rossmanith serves as board president, Oswald as vice president, Deanne Yetmar as treasurer and Kathy Guillen as secretary.

The Vincent House, which was built by James and Adeline Swain, was bequeathed to the Fort Dodge YWCA in 1969. From the date it was built, which is three years after the city of Fort Dodge was incorporated, it is believed to be the oldest structure left in the city.

Design of the home follows the Second Empire style characterized by the mansard roof, wraparound porch and tall narrow windows. Constructed of local brick and wood, the exterior walls of the house are 30 inches thick.

Around 1880, an addition was placed on the back of the home.

In 1973, the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, an official list of the nation’s historic places of worthy preservation.

To book an event, contact the YWCA at 515-573-3931, ext. 202, and ask for Tina Schroeder, or by email tinas@ywcafd.org.


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