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FiFth street district | ottumwa , iowa
WAPELLO COUNTY VETERANS AFFAIRS
FiFth street district | ottumwa , iowa

The Fifth Street Bluff Historic District is one of Ottumwa ’ s oldest neighborhoods .

Construction in the neighborhood began in the late 1850s , less than 20 years after Ottumwa ’ s founding . The bluffs were home to Ottumwa ’ s elite at the time as many local business owners came to build there not only to get away from the river bottom , but also for the view , according to a document prepared by the Ottumwa Historic Preservation commission in 2013 .
“ It was very fashionable ,” said Dennis Willhoit , chair of the commission . “ The business owners could build there and look over their companies .”
The real building booms of the district came in the 1860s , 1890s and 1920s , with the 1890s being especially busy , according to the 2013 report .
Property owners include some of Ottumwa ’ s most historic names : George Morrell of John Morrell & Co ., F . W . Simmons of American Mining Took Co ., G . C . Janney of Janney Mfg ., J . W . Edgerly , a wholesale druggist , J . H . Merrill , a wholesale grocer , Judge H . B . Hendershott .
Popular architectural styles of the district include Italianate , Queen Anne and Tutor revival . The street was lined with bricks in 1895 , creating a strong visual statement .
Th e location of the district , according to the report , “ has shielded it from commercial development and preserved important historic and architectural features .”
Like the North Court District , some of the homes were converted to multi-family housing . However , over the past decade , owners have restored some of them to their former glory as a single-family home .
In addition to the historic houses , the district ’ s designation includes the brick streets that are still present today , stone retaining walls and an iron fence . The Trinity Episcopal Church , located at Fifth and Market streets , is also housed in the district .
The district includes all properties facing Fifth Street between Washington and Jefferson streets . It also includes houses on North Green Street from Fourth to Green streets and houses on North Market Street from Fifth Street to just beyond Sixth Street . It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998 .
“ The Fifth Street Bluff Historic District is an area that should be viewed on foot ,” reads the 2013 document . “ The brick streets with stone curbs , stone retaining walls , mature trees and historic residences give it a strong sense of time and place .”

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