By Michael S. Hoey

The final act for the Temperance House in Delavan may be on the horizon after the Common Council on Dec. 17 authorized an order to the Delavan Historical Society to repair or raze the building within 30 days.

A Hail Mary reprieve in the form of an interested party that may or may not have an interest in saving the building complicated the discussion, but in the end the council decided to issue the order with the caveat that it can be extended if a legitimate offer is received.

The Temperance House at 63 E. Walworth St. is the oldest building in the City of Delavan and the second oldest in the state. Its historical significance can be traced to the city’s roots as a Temperance colony and the building is one of the few remaining Temperance structures still standing in Wisconsin.

The Historical Society took over ownership of the building in 2010 from previous owner Ed Chesko, who was unable to raise the money needed to rehabilitate it. Chesko hoped the Historical Society would have better luck saving it but after two attempts to raise enough money to repair the dilapidated structure, the Society decided to try to sell it about a year ago for $225,000.

The council, seeking resolution to the situation, gave the Historical Society a year to sell it to someone who would rehabilitate it. As that year came close to expiring, the council began discussions about issuing the raze order in November. An inspection of the building was conducted on Nov. 6 and the building was found to be in a dangerous state or disrepair.

Historical Society Director Patti Marsicano gave the council an update about recent developments regarding the building at the start of the meeting.

Read the rest of the story in the Dec. 26 Enterprise.


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