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This early 1900s-era post office, part of county's history, deemed hazard, too costly to save

Posted by On 18.11

This early 1900s-era post office, part of county's history, deemed hazard, too costly to save

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It was once a post office, but now this crumbling building in Piru is set to be demolished.

Rick Cadena remembers the house on Piru Square with the old, wood false-front from when he was a kid.

Back then, he would be playing and running around. His grandmother lived in the home next door and the adjacent lots were all owned by family.

The one with the tall wooden front reminded him of an old-time saloon.

In reality, it had been a post office and up until the 1920s stood around the corner on Center Street. That was before his g reat-grandmother had it moved and converted it into two apartments.

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Decades later, Ventura County officials declared it a site of merit, noting its architectural and historical significance.

But even then, its condition was described as “deteriorating.” In the 30 years since, it has gotten worse.

A metal fence surrounds it on the quiet road across from the train station and a small park. That fence was required by the county, which has deemed the structure unsafe.

This old Piru post office just couldn't be saved Fullscreen

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Buy Photo A Piru home built around 1900 will soon be torn down. The building once served as a post office in the small community. It later was moved around the corner and converted into two apartments. FullscreenBuy Photo A former Piru post office built around 1900 is expected to be torn down by October. It was moved from its original location on Center Street in the 1920s and converted into two apartments. FullscreenBuy Photo Rick Cadena stands outside by the back door of an early 1900s-era building. It once served as a Piru post office and was moved from its original location and converted into two apartments in the 1920s. FullscreenBuy Photo An early 1900s-era building will soon be torn down. It once served as a Piru post office but was moved and converted into two apartments in the 1920s. FullscreenBuy Photo A former Piru post office was moved from Center Street to Piru Square in the 1920s. It was converted into tw o apartments and was last occupied in the 1980s. FullscreenBuy Photo Rick Cadena stands inside the structure that was once a Piru post office. It was built around 1900. FullscreenBuy Photo Built around 1900, a former Piru post office will be torn down soon. The building was moved from its original location in the 1920s and is in poor condition. FullscreenBuy Photo The former Piru post office and possibly the oldest commercial structure in the town will be demolished after more than 100 years. FullscreenBuy Photo Rick Cadena inherited a home that once served as a Piru post office. In poor condition, the structure is expected to be torn down in the next few months. FullscreenBuy Photo Rick Cadena walks around a structure that was once a Piru post office and was built around 1900. FullscreenBuy Photo In poor condition, a former Piru post office is expected to be demolished by October. It was built around 1900. FullscreenBuy Photo Rick Cadena points at the former Piru post office. In the 1920s, the structure was moved from Center Street to Piru Square, where it was converted into two apartments. FullscreenBuy Photo In poor condition, a former Piru post office is expected to be demolished by October. It was built around 1900 and was moved from Center Street to Piru Square in the 1920s. FullscreenBuy Photo Rick Cadena inh erited two old homes in Piru â€" one built around 1900 and the other in the 1920s. He hopes to be able to save the property on Main Street, which is in better condition. FullscreenBuy Photo Rick Cadena opens the front door of a home he inherited in Piru. One day, he hopes to restore the early 1900s-era home. FullscreenBuy Photo Rick Cadena hopes to restore a home on Main Street in Piru that his family moved into in the late 1920s. FullscreenReplay
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Some of its windows are boarded up, and others are m issing. Stretches of the sagging roof are long gone, and exterior walls lean at odd angles.

“When I had inherited the property, I tossed around if there was some way for me to save it, I’d like to keep it,” said Cadena, who took over ownership a couple of years ago.

“But once I got into the property stuff, once the estate was settled, it was obvious there was not much I could do to save it.”

Last week, he asked the county’s Cultural Heritage Board to sign off on him tearing it down. The board OK’d the move.

Built around 1900, it’s actually half the building that had been on Center Street, likely moved when commercial brick buildings went up in downtown Piru.

It had been built as a store and served as the post office, according to a Historical Resources Inventory form. In the 1980s, the county included the post-office-turned-home as a site of merit, although it was found ineligible for the National Register.

Forms say it was one of the last examples of the wood false-front buildings that once lined both sides of Center Street. It also was believed to be the oldest remaining commercial building in the small community.

Scroll down for historical photos and details from a county report.

“It would be great to keep it, but it’s just in such horrible condition,” said Steve Schafer, one of the members of the county’s Cultural Heritage Board.

The board signed off on issuing a certificate of appropriateness for the demolition. County officials said that is allowed when certain conditions are met, such as a hardship or if damage to the property owner is unreasonable in comparison to the benefit to the community.

In this case, Cadena provided a statement from a local contractor that indicated the framing was rotten beyond repair and cost to save it would range from $125,000 to $150,000.

He could not afford to pay for that work, he said.

According to the county, the bui lding’s significance also likely was decided without all the information that’s now known. At the time, it doesn’t appear that officials knew it was only a portion of a larger commercial structure.

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When the building was moved, Cadena said, his great-grandmother had a wall built inside and turned it into two small apartments. An attached outbuilding was added for the bathrooms.

“At some point, my great-grandmother gifted the property to her son Jesus Molina,” Cadena said. “Eventually, the rear portion was used for storage and the last time the front portion was occupied was in the late ’80s.”

Molina, who lived in what’s likely another early 1900s-era home nearby, died in September 2014. Cadena took over ownership of the buildings in their present condition shortly after that, he said.

A year or so ago, the county issued a code enforcement violation for the former post office, and Cadena said he has worked out a plan to resolve the issue, which now includes tearing it down by October.

But he said he hopes some of the wood can be saved. If so, he would try to use it in whatever eventually gets built on the lot.

That’s still a long way off, he said Friday.

Cadena has spent the past couple of years fixing up the one-story home next door where his grandmother had lived. He now lives there with his wife and children. He also inherited that property, as well as the small home where Molina had lived on Main Street.

That was the first property his family moved into when they came to Piru. That was in the 1920s, family members said.

“They lived in the back of the house and in the front, they started selling produce,” Cadena said. Once they saved enough money, they bought a building on Center Street and opened a store.

“It’s savable,” he said of the Main Street home. That’s what he inten ds to do.

Read or Share this story: https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/local/2018/07/15/early-1900-s-era-piru-post-office-torn-down/768129002/Sumber: Google News | Liputan 24 Piru

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