St. Charles grant funding to help rehabilitate three local historic properties

St. Charles City Council members recently approved facade improvement grants totaling $36,588 for three local historic buildings.

Douglas Kimber received $16,360 for the 1896 Osgood Building at 11 E. Main St., according to a news release from Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley.

In addition, Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley received $15,228 for the 1850 William Beith House at 8 Indiana St.

The third grant went to Susan Olson, who got $5,000 for her 1874 private residence at 411 Prairie St.

St. Charles' facade improvement grants are "intended to promote reinvestment and restoration of commercial and residential buildings in the downtown area with a focus on supporting historic preservation practices," according to the release. Grant funding cannot exceed more than half a project's cost.

"Facade improvement grants, such as those offered by St. Charles, are vital investments in a community's heritage," Al Watts, community engagement director for Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley, said in the release. "These grants allow property owners to use historically appropriate materials, which can sometimes be more expensive than modern materials, and rehabilitate their properties sooner than they otherwise could."

The Osgood Building has needed updating for some time, building owner Kimber said in the release.

"We're really looking forward to bringing life back into this significant building in the heart of downtown St. Charles," Kimber said.

According to the grant application, the building will undergo masonry repairs, wood trim replacement and receive a fresh coat of paint.

The plan for the William Beith House calls for replacing rotting trim along the roof and adding gutters to protect the new trim and historic limestone walls.

"The building's lack of gutters has accelerated natural weathering of materials" on the home, said Kelsey Shipton, executive director of Preservation Partners. "We're excited that this grant will help us add gutters to redirect the water away from the house and protect this historic landmark."

At Olson's home along Prairie Street, the plan is to replace its unique wood spiral rope-patterned columns. The architectural feature was one reason the house became a local historic landmark in 2017.

"This project is very special to me," Olson said in the release. "I feel like I'm making history by re-creating these columns to look like they were originally."

The wood spiral rope-patterned columns will be replaced on the 1874 home at 411 Prairie St. with the assistance of a St. Charles facade improvement grant. Courtesy of Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley
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