Ottumwa Life We Are Ottumwa - Ottumwa Life Summer 2021 - Page 12

A Courtly neighborhood

In getting around Ottumwa , there ’ s almost no avoiding Court Street .

Court Hill anchors the busy Ottumwa street and is home to several large , historic homes displaying the most popular styles from 1865 to 1915 .
The prestigious homes were built at a time when the elite “ wanted their wealth to be seen ,” said Dennis Willhoit , chair of the Ottumwa Historic Preservation Commission .
Much of the boom of Court Street came from the development of the electric streetcar that was put into service in 1891 , according to “ Ottumwa ’ s Historic Treasures ,” a 2013 report put together by the historic commission . It was also the year the street was paved from Sixth Street to Woodland Avenue . The boom ran from 1890 to 1915 , according to the report .
Steam heat played a role in the significance of Court Hill in that era as well , as the main stream pipes ran up the middle of the hill , ensuring passengers could get up the hill in winter .
Popular architectural styles of the district include Italianate , neoclassical , Victorian , and Queen Anne . The “ newer ” homes of the district , from the early decades of the 1900s , also come in simpler two-story homes . The oldest of the houses date to the years 1865-75 .
Homes were built for the likes of W . R . Daum , Major Charles and Tabitha Fulton , W . T . Harper , J . C . Jordan , W . H . Cooper , Otto Brenhorst , A . H . Hamilton .
“ There has been little demolition of houses , and almost no new construction ,” the report reads . Over time , particularly with the conversion of many of the homes to multi-family housing during World War II , the integrity of many of the homes has been impacted .
One of the homes , the Daum House at 513 N . Court St ., found itself on the 2020 Most Endangered Properties List by Preservation Iowa . It had been placarded due to a
12 We Are Ottumwa