A longtime fixture on Main Street in Swanton is no more. A section of downtown Swanton just north of the railroad tracks was demolished beginning Wednesday of last week.
The building at 91 and 93 N. Main St. was razed because it is falling down onto the Epiphany Community Services building next door, according to Deacon Dzierzawski, who recently purchased the building.
The Ephiphany Community Services building will receive an addition, with construction expected to begin in the spring. It is not yet known how large the addition will be. The company is also expected to add four or five new employees in the next year or two, according to Dzierzawski.
The 93 N. Main St. section was most recently used as a restaurant but had been empty for years. The upstairs had previously been used by the Knights of Pythias. The corner closest to the tracks was a beauty salon, and had been the location of many haircuts over the years, until Dzierzawski and Heather Wegener closed on the building,
Dzierzawski said building being razed would have cost $300,000 to restore. “It’s cost-prohibitive to save the building,” he said.
Swanton Mayor Ann Roth said the new owner consulted with professionals about demolition versus rehabilitation. “Rehab would have been cost prohibitive and, therefore, the new owner removed it because he knew it was unsafe,” she said. “I appreciate his efforts in removing an unsafe building, and look forward to the space being improved.”
Many community residents are reportedly disappointed the building had to come down, even if it was deemed the best option. Its absence will forever change the look of downtown Swanton.
“While it is always sad to see a piece of Swanton’s rich history disappear from sight, many fond memories remain,” said Neil Toeppe, Swanton, Ohio, Historical Society president and Chamber of Commerce president. “That is why the Swanton Ohio Historical Society was created. To save the memories of families, buildings, and organizations that might otherwise be lost to time and fading memories.”
He added that a building from the late 1800s had served the community in many ways.
“As Main Street’s revitalization continues with new shops, new businesses, there will be even more opportunity for new uses for our historic buildings,” he said. “The old Elks building is undergoing renovation, and is planned to house an expanded Switchback Crossing Café. The old Swanton Savings Bank is also undergoing renovation, and will provide an opportunity for a new business.
“Everything has a life cycle, and we are starting to see the rebirth of Swanton’s Main Street.”
Toeppe said the best way to help save the historic buildings is to support Swanton’s new Main Street businesses, which may encourage other businesses to locate here. “With an influx of new businesses, we may yet save some of our historic buildings,” he said.