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Farmhouse Renovation Keeps History Alive in North Liberty

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NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa Plans were to have the white farmhouse located in the heart of North Liberty completely renovated before this year's Centennial celebration. Unfortunately a lack in funding for the project will make these plans impossible. But, that doesn't mean the work doesn't continue on the Ranshaw House.

Built in 1908, the home was built for Samuel Ranshaw's retirement. At that time Mr. Ranshaw's farmland spread as far as the eye can see. Now, the home seems slightly out of place in a community that feels so young.

It's been home to many families over the years, some who still live in North Liberty. Assistant City Administrator Tracey Mulcahey says the home has a lot of emotional attachment, adding, "In a community that's so young and so new, it's nice to have something like this to ground us in our past. This is a representative of who we are."

The city actually purchased the home in 2004, with the plans to tear it down to expand parking for the nearby community center. A walk through the historic home quickly put an end to those plans.

" A lot hasn't changed, a lot of it's been maintained. The integrity of this house is still pretty amazing. We have pocket doors that are fully functioning, beautiful pillars, all of the woodwork is still in the original state."

Grants helped the city finish improvements to the exterior of the home and the roof. Now that the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the city needs more money to renovate the interior. The renovations to the home also included the discovery of little treasures. The city parks crew found candy wrappers inside the railing of the stairs that had piled up over the years.

While the renovations continue, the city wants to continue to preserve its roots, especially as they celebrate their centennial. Now, Mulcahey believes that if the Ranshaw's could see their home today, they would be proud of their community.

Once the renovations of the home are done, the house will serve as a visitor's center and museum.

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