Advocates rally to save historic cottages ahead of Tuesday's pu - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Advocates rally to save historic cottages ahead of Tuesday's public hearing

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - For months, tensions have been high over the future of three historic cottages on South Dubuque Street in Iowa City.

The property owner wants to get rid of them for  new student housing and commercial development space , but not everyone's on board.

"These little buildings, these little slices of history that have been here since 1858," said William Ingles, who lives in the cottage and owns The Book Shop.

He has more than 400,000 books resting inside his 28-year-old business.

"If I'm not here, I would need both a home and a place to do business," said Ingles.

It's been a very strong discussion over the cottages in recent months, and Saturday advocates and tenants rallied outside the cottages ahead of Tuesday's public hearing before the Iowa City City Council.

During Tuesday's council meeting, there will be a discussion on whether to make the cottages a historic landmark designation.

At Saturday's rally, people were holding signs like "Save Our Neighborhoods" expressing the importance of saving the two remaining cottages and their unique architecture.

The property owner of the cottages did work out a deal with one of the three cottages and it was torn down in December.

"They're pretty much the last working class cottages," said Alicia Trimble, director of Friends of Historic Preservation. "They're small they're 20 by 30 feet, but they represent how most of us would've lived back then."

Trimble says the two remaining cottages show the working class population who supported the railroad in the area. Others say they are the very last remnants of that 19th century period and Iowa City's working class.

"The people of Iowa City and beyond Iowa City really care about these cottages," said Trimble.

While the future for Ingles' book shop and home is still unclear, He and other advocates wanting to preserve what they call the fabric of Iowa City, hope the council on Tuesday hear their cries to keep this slice of history.

"I don't know if i could do both. If I leave here i may not be able to stay in business," said Ingles.
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