Brey’s Radio & TV has made its home in this building since about 1959. My father established the business in about 1947 in a rustic old building in the alley north of 1st Avenue North between North 7th and 8th Streets in Estherville, IA. Following his success in this first location he moved to 22 North 7th Street, 2-doors north of this present location. When this building became available he purchased it from the Cole family who had constructed it as a Plumbing Shop, then known as East Side Plumbing. The building was constructed in 1913 and dad’s business was the third to occupy this space. Previous to him the Western Union had their operation here. Dad continues in business but has long since discontinued using the second floor as apartment rental space.
The building is a wood frame structure built on a rubble stone foundation and is built a few inches above the gravel base under the building with utilities entering the building in a concrete pit near the back door. The 2-story building is still very sound with very little settling over all these years. The stucco on three sides is the original exterior finish with the wood siding on the front added about 20 years ago. The first floor contains a large retail space with a small back room for storage and a single story attached garage with access off the alley. The second floor has two apartments, with the front apartment being the smaller of the two.
Since we simply love a project, and because this building has been in our family for nearly 50 years, Sandy and I have worked out a plan with Dad to begin renovating the building and returning it to the original 1913 look from front to back, and top to bottom. Our fist project began about June 2006 when I removed the rotted wood stair steps from the second floor on the alley side of the building. We will continue to post images of this project as work continues.