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Fabulous facade

Downtown store’s facelift wins award

-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
The restoration of this building at 605 Central Ave. received the Excellent Exterior Rehabilitation Award from Main Street Iowa recently. The renovation revealed the original 1880 storefront.

One downtown store’s facelift helped Main Street Fort Dodge nab the award for Excellent Exterior Rehabilitation from the 2020 Main Street Iowa Awards earlier this month.

Main Street Fort Dodge nominated the Diamond’s facade restoration project by Dave Madsen for the award. The building, located at 605 Central Ave., went through a major facade change last year.

The project, which actually started in the fall of 2018 and was completed in June 2019, included the removal of the old green Mattress Smart storefront. When the green, wooden facade was removed, Madsen discovered the building’s original 1880 brick arches and facade underneath.

“We didn’t know the arches were there at all,” he said.

Madsen said that the city of Fort Dodge didn’t even realize that was the original building constructed back in 1880 — with the old facade, it didn’t look like any of the photos of the original building, so the city thought that it had been torn down and rebuilt.

-Submitted photo
As the olive green wooden facade of 605 Central Ave. was removed last year, the building’s original brick arches from 1880 were exposed for the first time in decades.

When Madsen began this project, restoring the building’s original facade wasn’t what he had in mind — he envisioned something more contemporary.

“But then the arches appeared,” he said.

Madsen received a grant from the Development Corporation of Greater Fort Dodge, which covered $20,000 of the $80,000 project cost.

The successful facelift turning the building’s facade back into an example of a traditional storefront circa the late 1800s is why Main Street Fort Dodge nominated the project for the Excellent Exterior Rehabilitation award, said Kris Patrick, executive director of Main Street Fort Dodge.

“We chose this building because there was such a drastic change from the way it had been covered up with that green, vertical siding, and it was such a pleasant surprise to find that original brick and windows under those wood panels,” she said. “There were some significant features that were able to be rehabilitated.”

-Submitted photo
The olive green wooden Mattress Smart facade at 605 Central Ave. was removed in early 2019.

Madsen said he felt honored that his project won the award.

For now, the building is acting as an extension of LifeStyles Home Furnishings, the business Madsen owns next door to the 605 Central Ave. building, but he hopes to use the storefront as a place for pop-up businesses.

“We’re really proud of Dave for investing in downtown Fort Dodge and making sure that building is going to look historic for the next 100 years,” Patrick said. “We really wish a lot of other business owners would take that as an example of what you can do and with a little elbow grease and some grant funding, it’s amazing what you can do with some of the buildings in downtown.”

Local restaurant owner Jim Bird also received an honor from the Main Street Iowa awards. Bird, who owns Olde Boston’s Restaurant and Pub, Sports Page, Mineral City Mill and Grill and Pancheros, won the Leadership Award for Main Street Fort Dodge.

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