The past year has been a busy one for the BRITT Group as we work to save the old bank building. Many questions are being asked as residents notice the comings and goings of workers and volunteers in and around this historic jewel.
Following are answers to some of the questions we have been asked. Since the bank is a work in progress these answers are based on the best information we have at this time.
What will the old bank building be used for? The old bank will be repurposed as a bed-and-breakfast. Currently there are no public accommodations in Britt and a bed-and-breakfast will help fill a serious need in our city.
How many rooms will the bed-and-breakfast have? Although the architect has not yet designed plans for the interior, we think the current building, with no addition, can accommodate a minimum of four or five rooms.
What has been done to preserve the building so far? It is well known that the building suffered serious damage due to years of neglect, damage by previous owners and damage from the demolition of buildings attached to the bank.
Several large gaping holes from the removal of attached buildings on the west side have been temporarily sealed; a new permanent roof was installed; the roof drain was replaced; power was installed to support the use of power tools and to provide lighting for current and future workers.
Volunteers have spent many, many hours removing debris from the building; the surrounding property has been cleaned, graded and filled, and the BRITT Group has started working with an architectural firm as we proceed with repurposing and restoring the building.
What can be preserved from the old bank building? The exterior east and south sides can be preserved. The architect recommended keeping the current window design since it’s over 50 years old. A window restoration specialist will be hired to restore the windows.
The BRITT Group thinks much of the second story’s original interior design can be preserved. This area suffered the least damage from years of problems associated with our 100-year-old building.
The architect will combine the remaining interior architectural treasures with a new spectacular design that will compliment the old bank building. This design will include a new exquisite entrance to welcome guests into the building.
What happened to the bank’s original exterior clock? The BRITT Group has not been able to determine what became of the old 1916 clock that was part of the original Commercial State Bank Building’s design.
If anyone knows what became of this clock, please pass on the information to one of our BRITT Group members: Jim Nelson, Skip Miller, Garry Kerns, Allen Eden, Gary Gelner, Jeff Kudej, Betty Moylan (Connecticut Shorty), Laurie Eden or Carolyn DeKruif.
The BRIT Group appreciates your interest in saving this building, and periodically we will keep everyone updated of our progress. We can only be successful in restoring the spirit and soul of this old building with your continued help.
Please send your tax deductible contribution or donation in memory of your loved one to: The BRITT Group, PO Box 93, Britt, IA 50423. The next generation will only inherit what we choose to save.
Britt and Clear Lake