The East Tower will be open for tours as part of Tiffin’s Winterfest December 6 and 7 from
noon until 4 p.m.
An historical structure built in 1893 and formerly the building housing the East Junior High School and Columbian High School at the corner of East Market & Jefferson Streets, the East Tower is available for development, including use as the site of the proposed Joint Justice Center.
The building was purchased by Andrew Kalnow, chairman/CEO of National Machinery LLC, in 2012 with a vision of it being restored and becoming a cornerstone of revitalization on downtown Tiffin. The open house tours will provide both a glimpse of the past and a look to the future. The first floor has had no renovation, but has been cleaned up to show the old school building in the days after East Junior High was shuttered and all but the original 1893 structure demolished. The second floor, however, has undergone some suggestive restoration in order to help visitors visualize what this grand building could be with renovation and a new use.
At the open house visitors will wind through three of the class rooms on the 1st floor, and then congregate for a guided tour of the partially restored 2nd floor led by docents from the community. Tours of the 2nd floor will be short in duration, as there is a limit to the number of people allowed on the 2nd floor at one time in order to maintain fire safety guidelines. Visitors are welcome to stay longer and learn more about the history of the building and its’ potential by visiting the tent at the rear of the building. Authorities will be there to speak about the building, and there also will be photo displays. Additionally, well-known journalist Lisa Swickard will have a book signing on Saturday. A local company, Jolly’s Drive In, will be offering food for sale.
The East Tower is a beautiful example of Romanesque/Gothic architecture, and studies have shown that it is structurally sound after 121 years. It will likely continue to be structurally sound for another 100 years or more… long after most any new building that might replace it. Use of the building as the proposed Joint Justice Center (with an addition on the rear) would not only make great use of this prominent 1893 structure, but also would preserve the current town Green. Mr. Kalnow is willing to donate the property for that specific use.
Please come to the East Tower open house: visualize what the restoration of this building can be, as well as how it might enhance downtown Tiffin.