BCHS Wants to Save Historical House

Wes Anderson, curator of the Barnes County Historical Society Museum, would like to see an old house at 404 Fifth Ave. SW in Valley City saved.
Anderson said the two-story duplex built in 1900, and sometimes called the “Pink Flamingo,” is “probably one of the most architecturally significant homes left in town.”

David Schelkoph, Valley City City administrator, said Thursday Valley City obtained the home as one of its buyouts for permanent flood protection. If it is not purchased and moved by the end of March it will likely be demolished.

Schelkoph said people are at least curious about the property, which will end up being demolished if not sold and moved.

“I’ve opened up the home five times” to people wanting to look at at it, “and nobody has said they wanted to buy,” Schelkoph said.

The city administrator said the house was originally built as a single family home, was turned into a duplex, and about 15 years ago was bought and made into an apartment house. Since then, college students and others have been living there.

“It requires a lot of work to bring it up to code,” Schelkoph said, adding under state law, if moved within city limits it would have to meet current code standards for windows, insulation, plumbing, electrical and furnace. “If you bought it and moved it outside the city, I’m not sure what the rules would be.”

Anderson said, “It needs lots of work and many will see it as a money pit – but then what old house isn’t?”

Anderson said he believes if it were moved outside of Valley City stringent code requirements might not have to be followed.

Said Anderson, “It needs to be moved out of city limits or else it will be torn down. The city is willing to sell it cheap so they don’t have to pay to tear it down.”

He added, “I’d really like to see it saved. It is such a neat looking old house. It is well built and has lots of character inside as well – colonnades, built in china cabinet, leaded and stained glass windows too.

“I’d like to see it saved as it is indeed historical – they don’t make them like this anymore that’s for sure.”