The old hotel along the railroad tracks on South Main Street came down over the last week as well as the other buildings south of United Equity. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
The old hotel along the railroad tracks on South Main Street came down over the last week as well as the other buildings south of United Equity. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)

DELPHOS — Those entering downtown Delphos from the south will notice a change in the landscape on the east side of South Main Street just north of the railroad tracks.

The building that most recently housed an antique mall and once was a restaurant and bar and the attached apartment, the former Marion Township building and the building for Cliff’s Small Engine Repair all came down over the last several weeks.

The buildings and the property they sat on is owned by United Equity. President and CEO Shelly Core said she would have loved to have kept the buildings, but disrepair, vandals and thieves and people squatting and using drugs made it impossible.

“What we called the Fred Building, where Fred Cross had his small engine repair business, was collapsing in on itself. The basement was caving in because people had removed bricks to enter. They told us that building wouldn’t have stood another year. All the buildings were a safety hazard,” Core said.

United Equity had looked into putting offices in the larger building but it was cost prohibitive.

“We found it would be $2-3 million to put in offices,” Core added. “We couldn’t do that so we looked for other alternatives for the building.”

Core had been in touch with a non-profit to purchase the larger building along the tracks, but once a representative came and actually saw the inside, they regrettably passed on the opportunity, saying it would cost too much for them to bring the building back to where it needed to be to be used.

Once there were no takers, Core started looking for grants for the demolition, which eventually was funded as part of Governor Mike DeWine’s Ohio Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program, which was developed to help local communities tear down dilapidated commercial and residential buildings and revitalize surrounding properties to attract investments, businesses and jobs. The funds were channeled through Allen County Land Reutilization Corporation.

“We were so blessed to get that grant money from Allen County to take care of these buildings,” Core said. “Nothing but positive things can come from this. We’re cleaning things up to avoid bigger problems.”

A set of doors from the old hotel, which was built in 1881 and called the Rose House were given to the Canal Museum.

“The doors could possibly date from the building of the Rose House in 1881,” Canal Museum Trustee Bob Ebbeskotte said. “They are real and they are spectacular — bout 9 feet, 6 inches tall.”

It became the Beckman House in May 1900 when it was leased by W.H. Beckman. Beckman installed the brick platform between the hotel and the railroad. It changed hands several times over the years. In April 1969, the Country Kitchen Restaurant opened in the hotel. Later it was Sweetwater Station and then the antique store.

A Marion Township sign from another building was salvaged and given to the township trustees.

Core said the property where the buildings once stood will be taken care of and be something the city and its residents can be proud for others to see when traveling to the downtown.

“We will do the upkeep and in the future, we might add a building or two for storage and maybe a workshop,” Core said. “Whatever it is, it will be something nice to look at and enhance the property value.”