Cottage campaign short of goal

Published 9:32 am Friday, August 16, 2013

Effort to save structure at Edgewater Park needs another $25-30,000

A group of Albert Lea men working to save the Edgewater Cottage have estimated they are $25,000 to $30,000 short of their goal.

Neighbors Tony Trow, Bob Goldman and Kim Hanson set out last summer to prevent the city from tearing down the building in Edgewater Park, which is in need of structural repairs and has failed safety inspections.

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Trow and Goldman estimated community members have already given about $70,000 in money, in-kind support and materials, including windows, doors, paint, concrete and laminated beams, to name a few.

But before they are able to move forward with a majority of the renovations, they must raise additional money, they said. They are also looking for skilled workers such as carpenters, painters and pressure washers.

“We need lots of help in addition to finances,” Goldman said.

The men have worked with preservation architect Pat Waddick of Minneapolis, who has donated his time in helping with several downtown projects, they said. They are working to finalize plans, then plan to take them to city officials for approval.

The men said they hope most renovations can take place next spring, though they intend to resolve a problem of water seeping into the basement by this fall.

The city is concerned about the basement floor, the footings, the roof, the floor, the deck, the siding, the windows and the interior decor.

Though the foundation was replaced in 1991 and is in good condition, the floor has many cracks and is heaving in many areas. Many of the posts in the basements that support the beams are also rotting, and some of the subfloor is showing signs of dry rot, according to previous Tribune interviews with city inspector Doug Johnson.

On the exterior, the cottage has rotted siding, peeling paint and a deck that does not meet codes.

On the main floor, some of the walls have started to push out because of extra weight bearing down from the roof, according to the inspector. An interior wall running through the center of the building has been removed, which contributes to adding additional weight to the outside walls.

Some of the windows also have water damage and need to be replaced, and the interior needs to be repainted.

Trow, Goldman and Hanson are nostalgic about the Edgewater Cottage. They talked about going there as children and in the years since with their own children and grandchildren.

According to historical records, Edgewater Cottage originated as a farmhouse.

Freeborn County Historical Museum records indicate at one point the owner of the house operated a nearby pigeon farm or squab ranch. The home later became the home for Louis Kroessin, a harness maker and poultry farmer, and then was owned by Samuel Sorenson.

In 1925 or 1926, the city of Albert Lea acquired the farm.

The upper story of the house was removed and the lower part was converted into the present Edgewater Cottage. At one point, it even sold concessions, including ice cream.

A deck with a view of Edgewater Bay was added after 1975.

Goldman said 2014 will be the 100th anniversary of Edgewater Park, and he thinks it would be fun to get the cottage completed in time to be dedicated that year.

The men estimated the project would take about six weeks to complete.

To get involved in the effort, people can contact Goldman at 373-9197 or Trow at 383-9282 or 373-5257.

Donations, which are tax-deductible, can be made out to the Albert Lea Chamber Foundation and mailed or brought in to the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce, 2580 Bridge Ave., Albert Lea MN 56007. “Edgewater Cottage” should be included in the memo line.