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Share stories of 12 Scott St. with the 712 Initiative
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Share stories of 12 Scott St. with the 712 Initiative

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The 712 Initiative is looking for community members to share their stories of working in the 12 Scott St. building.

12 Scott St. was built in 1904 and was home to the Northwestern Bell Telephone Company until 1976, and was also known as the “hub of telecommunication” in Council Bluffs. This was roughly 30 years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.

“We want to see this property on the National Register of Historic Places and there is interest from the State of Iowa Historical Society,” 712 Initiative CEO Sheryl Garst told the Nonpareil.

To do that, 712 is looking for stories to find more details about some of the offices that were in the building and what the property was like when the Northwestern Bell Telephone Company was there.

“(712) hosted our shoe drive drop off in the building last spring and heard multiple stories from people who used to work in the building or knew people that did,” Garst said in a press release. “We know there’s a strong history to the building and are hoping to get in touch with those people to hear stories from their time working here.”

Throughout the years, 12 Scott St. has had some additions, with a large portion built in the 1940s.

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The addition had the operators and telephone lines on the back wall, that’s why there aren’t any windows on the western side, Garst said.

12 Scott St. has been used by other companies, but most recently by Council Bluffs Community Schools until 712 Initiative bought it in 2018.

“The intent is to bring energy to the downtown to revitalize the city, preserve our past while ensuring our future,” Garst said. “We would love to convert this to 23 apartments after we finish our phase one project which is 530 W. Broadway.”

The plan for the renovation will keep the historical fabric and also give it a new life.

“The metropolitan area is I believe 78,000 housing units short of where we need to be,” Garst said. “The Council Bluffs population has been very stagnant at about 1 percent growth for many decades.”

Garst continued, saying that it’s a hot housing market right now and people are asking for rental and home ownership opportunities. The goal of 712 is to help with the housing shortage in Council Bluffs and creating 23 apartments out of this historical building will help.

For those who have stories or information to share call 712-396-2471 or email info@the712initiative.org.

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