Metro-East News

Contractor buys historic Belleville home that faced possible demolition

Tour of historic 1854 home in Belleville

Drive north on North Jackson Street from downtown Belleville and you can’t help notice the three-story house at 109 East D St. The house is in the Hexenbuckel Historic District and the original structure was built in 1854.
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Drive north on North Jackson Street from downtown Belleville and you can’t help notice the three-story house at 109 East D St. The house is in the Hexenbuckel Historic District and the original structure was built in 1854.

There’s a new owner for the historic Belleville home that faced possible demolition after being vacant for about 10 years.

Mark Gates, a Belleville general contractor, purchased the building at 109 E. D St. for $10,000 on Wednesday. He bought it from Jackie Elmore and her husband, Bud Zipfel.

The Belleville Historic Preservation Commission last week denied Elmore and Zipfel’s request for a demolition permit and Elmore said she would appeal the case to the Belleville City Council if Gates didn’t buy the property.

After two previous closing meetings failed to occur, Elmore was relieved the sale went through. “Hallelujah” was her first comment about getting the sale finalized.

Elmore has said she and Zipfel didn’t have enough money renovate the building and they first asked for the demolition permit in August 2017.

But now the home is in Gates’ hands.

Gates said he will develop a plan to repair the home once described by a local newspaper as the “most tasteful and elegant” in Belleville.

A decision on what he ultimately will do with the building is “far down the road,” Gates said.

For starters, he wants to fix the leaky roof once the weather breaks and get utilities hooked up.

‘French connection’

Preservationists know the building as the Cabanne home in honor of Lucien Dutilhe Cabanne, a businessman who built the home in 1854. He was a great-grandson of prominent St. Louisan Pierre Chouteau and was a business partner and brother-in-law of A.G. Edwards, who founded the A.G. Edwards brokerage firm, according to research by the Belleville Historical Society. Also, Cabanne and his brother bought the Hinckley Mill in Belleville in 1839.

The home originally had two stories but a third floor was later added.

Other French families followed Cabanne and built homes near his in what is now the Hexenbuckel Historic District in Belleville. This district includes homes along North Jackson, North Charles and North Church streets northeast of the Public Square.

Judy Belleville of the Labor & Industry Museum in Belleville calls this neighborhood the city’s “French connection” in a town known for its German heritage.

Since the home is in an historic district, the city Historic Preservation Commission has oversight on what happens there.

Jack LeChien, a member of the Historic Preservation Commission, was one of the board members who voted unanimously to deny the demolition permit.

“We wanted to save the building,” LeChien said. “This worked out well. I thank Jackie Elmore for selling the building and allowing it to be put into someone else’s hands who apparently has a plan to rehab the building.

“That’s the intent of an historic district and I think it was a great resolution of the situation.”

Mike Koziatek joined the Belleville News-Democrat in 1998 as an assistant editor and is now a reporter covering the Belleville area. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee and grew up in St. Louis.
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