Franklel Building Receives Historical Marker

Calvin Bandstra unveils the Frankel Building marker on Thursday evening.

Calvin Bandstra unveils the Frankel Building marker on Thursday evening.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The Frankel Building, at 109 South Market, is the current location of Smokey Row Coffee in Oskaloosa. The historic building can trace its roots to 1889.

The ceremony, which included an introduction by Ann Brouwer, with a welcome by Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt, and a short program by the building’s historian Calvin Bandstra took place on Thursday evening.

Krutzfeldt recounted the decisions that were made after the interior of the Frankel Building collapsed back in 2002 while he was on the city council. Ideas presented included making the space a parking lot, a modern building, and lastly what we see today, a restored structure.

Today the Frankel Building is home to Smokey Row, the meeting spot of Oskaloosa, and the site of many presidential candidate visits and hotly contested political debates.

The historical marker for the Frankel Building is the sixth such marker to be placed as part of the Historical Building Marker Project. The Oskaloosa Fire Station, Mahaska County Courthouse, Iowa Building, Trolley Place and the Centennial Block were previously added.

Brouwer said the historical marker project is made possible by the volunteer efforts of many people and businesses throughout the community. Ten buildings have been targeted in the historic district for building markers.

“Each historical marker includes the year the building was built, pictures of the building through the years, a few interesting and fun facts to appeal to community members and visitors, and a link to a website at the Chamber of Commerce for a more detailed history of the building,” Brouwer explained.

Calvin Bandstra, the volunteer researcher for the Frankel Building, helped to identify many interesting facts about the Frankel Building’s past. “You would not see the building we have today if it were not for the fundraising efforts of the Oskaloosa Downtown Development Group (ODD), who saved the building in 2002 when the roof and south wall collapsed,” Bandstra said.

Isaiah and Babette Frankel, who created the Frankel Building, were the first couple to be married in an Orthodox Jewish ceremony in Iowa in 1864. Their grandchildren, Louise Frankel Rosenfield Noun, and Joseph Frankel Rosenfield funded the landmark 1969 Supreme Court Case, Tinker v. the Des Moines School District, which guaranteed free speech to students.

The building was briefly owned by a company controlled by Scott Hinkley, Sr., a fraudulent investment counselor, and former Quaker minister, who fled Oskaloosa with a stash of diamonds and cash in 1996.

According to Brouwer, many volunteers collaborated to make the historical markers possible, including John Grahek from Clow Valve, which is donating the brass for all of the markers. The pattern for the mold that Clow used was developed by Tom Stone from Musco Sports Lighting and donated to the committee. Colt Mefford is donating his services to install the historical markers and Lyle Siefering of Mahaska Title is providing the “chain of ownership” on each building for the chamber website.

“In addition to the researchers who have stepped up to uncover the history of these buildings, countless others have helped in various ways to make the project possible,” Brouwer stressed.

Posted by on Apr 20 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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