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story.lead_photo.caption Nathanael Landwehr raises the American flag Wednesday, July 14, 2021, at the Historic City of Jefferson office. It's the first time the flag has been raised on the Tweedie House property since the May 2019 tornado. Landwehr helped plan and raise money for landscaping on the property as an Eagle Scout project. Photo by Jason Strickland / News Tribune.

The Historic City of Jefferson faced a particular challenge shortly after purchasing its first office space — the May 2019 tornado.

Now, the organization is ready to invite area residents to its space.

To celebrate, HCJ members hosted a flag raising and open house Wednesday night to show off the historic property turned office.

The Historic City of Jefferson is at 601 E. High St., also known as the Tweedie House.

HCJ Executive Director Anne Green said the nonprofit purchased the property in February 2019 for its first office space. Two months later, a tornado struck parts of Jefferson City, including the historic home.

"It was quite challenging for us to all of a sudden have our first property struck pretty heavily by this and be damaged pretty heavily by the tornado," she said, "but then also to be working to try to save as many of these damaged historic homes in town as we could."

The tornado blew one of the walls back 3 inches, so it needed to be stabilized. The building also needed new roofs and heating and cooling systems.

"We still need new flooring in the annex, and it needs to be painted on the second floor," Green said. "It's still a work in progress, but I would say 90 percent of the work is there and finished. Many homeowners in the area are still dealing with the remnants of the tornado from two years ago."

The original owner of the property was John Tweedie, who owned Tweedie Footwear Co. until the mid-1900s.

After Tweedie died, the building was used as the Dulle-Trimble Funeral Home for several years and hospice care after that.

HCJ now owns Tweedie's home and the square structure next to it Green referred to as the annex.

While the building is now office space, the annex has a couple of different uses.

Green said HCJ was already planning an architectural salvage program, but the tornado jump-started that plan with the number of historic homes that weren't able to be saved.

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Through that program, HCJ works with homeowners whose homes need to be demolished for various reasons, such as fires or the dangerous nature of the building, to salvage what historical pieces they can. These pieces can then be reused in new builds or remodeled homes.

"For one, we're saving these historic items that are a lot of times handcrafted and just high quality," Green said. "But it's kind of also a green approach because we're preventing tons of items from going into the landfill each year."

The top floor of the annex is a storage space for these pieces.

"It is rough and dusty at times," she said. "We've got old doors here, but they're really high quality because they used to make doors out of solid wood. We sell this stuff, not to make a profit off it, but we want to get the stuff used. There are a lot of people out there that appreciate it."

Meanwhile, the downstairs is as an event space, available to rent for meetings or small gatherings.

One component of Wednesday's open house was to unveil the Nicholas M. Monaco Drawing Room.

Monaco, a former HCJ president, died in October. He was responsible for rehabilitating and preserving several historic homes around the city.

"HCJ wanted to recognize his contribution and his legacy of historic preservation that he left in Jefferson City," Green said.

The tornado damaged the exterior of the buildings as well.

HCJ President Donna Deetz also made sure to recognize the death of D.J. Delong on Sunday, who was a founding member of the Historic City of Jefferson organization.

"She really made an impact on the Historic City of Jefferson and the preservation efforts we've done within the city," she said.

As part of the open house, the American flag was lifted back onto its pole in the yard for the first time since the tornado.

Nathanael Landwehr took the lead on reworking the landscaping for his Eagle Scout project.

The project cost $7,275 and nearly 300 volunteer hours. Along with $3,470 in individual donations, Landwehr worked with businesses and individuals to donate $4,551 worth of supplies, Green said.

"If any of you know what this place looked like beforehand, it was kind of rough," Landwehr said. "They didn't really have anyone dedicated to taking care of the outside of it, and the tornado in 2019 just tore things up. I thought it a great opportunity to just have a good Eagle project and something that'll make a big difference in the community."

While there's still work to be done, such as finishing the stairwell, Green said she's excited about it.

"We really just want to open this building up to the community," she said.

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