Regarding the Victorian Zeillinger House, also known as the Chauncey Taylor house on Fourth Street, which has a looming demolition order pending, I am writing to implore all those with the means to do so, to find a way out of this impasse and resolve this with the heroic result of saving the "old lady".
For those who may not know, I owned the house for 27 years as only the fourth owner, starting in 1976. When I first took possession of it, it looked much as it does now, with one significant difference. At that time, it was truly in such a poor state of preservation, it would not have lasted much longer before becoming uninhabitable. In other words, it hadn't started falling down yet but was close to doing so. Much immediate triage work was necessary to address numerous holes in the roof, water running down inside walls, deep seated rot, and an infestation of bats.
Looking at it now, the house does look very sad and shabby, but this time, the worst of it is primarily limited to its tattered appearance, because as I undertook the many years process of restoring it to its original beauty, I made sure that everything structural was addressed and resolved to enable it to stand at least another 50 or 100 years with proper maintenance work. With some restoration, this house could now readily be brought back from the brink to once again become the showplace it was when I sold it 16 years ago, a point of pride for the town on its main street.
From my custodial ownership, I became aware that the town of David City is known far and wide by this historic landmark. It is often referred to as "the David City house." And I am not just talking about surrounding towns, I'm referring to surrounding states and well beyond.
The frustration of the town to endure its sad decline and call the house a nuisance is understandable because it reflects poorly on the town. However, I would ask that everyone take a step back and just consider the following: A house cannot maintain itself. Only the owners can do that.
So does it makes sense to destroy an antique, architectural treasure, which has now stood under those mighty cottonwood trees for 131 years to punish... whom? The town would lose one of its best known, most beloved sites only to satisfy this impasse in which we find ourselves. Why must the house be the subject of the punishment for the "sins" of the owners? This is no derelict junk heap.
The situation is offensive but destroying the house is only a harsh, short-sighted fix for the problem - the equivalent of the old adage "cutting off your nose to spite your face."
If no one can change the course of events, when the time deadline runs out, it will only be a matter of a few hours and all that will be left is a cloud of dust and a big sad hole in the ground. Every board, every piece of trim in that house was cut with a handsaw - it could all just be splinters.
Surely some better 11th hour solution can be found. I truly hope so. Please think of some way to save [rescue] this beauty for future generations to enjoy. Please.
Woodstock, New York