Kleemann House is example of great historic restoration
Published: Thursday, September 27th, 2012
To say those who attended the Kleemann House open house in Custer this past weekend were impressed would be an understatement. It is hard to find words to describe the magnificent renovation of the formerly condemned and derelict building. Instead of renovation, rebuilding would probably be a better description because there wasn’t much left to renovate two years ago.
It was at this time that Clifford and Christine Mumm of Custer took possession of the building that was destined for the wrecking ball. The 1883 hotel structure had managed to hang on just long enough to be rescued by the Mumms who have a great interest in historic preservation.
What was left of the original 1883 building has been restored to beyond its former glory by its new owners who were meticulous in detail on both the exterior and interior of the structure. Victorian era tile for the main entryway and wallpaper for interior walls were found after extensive searches on the internet.
The exterior was cleaned down to the original bricks which had to have paint removed with belt sanders. The second story front porch could not be restored with supporting posts because of S.D. Department of Transportation rules about no structures in its rights of way. A smaller porch supported by huge interior beams was substituted so that it almost looks like the original.
Whenever possible, local contractors were used on the building. One of the contractors told us they all worked together on the project and everyone got along. That in itself is amazing. Apparently the 30-some contractors who worked on the project all shared the vision of the Mumms. They wanted the Kleemann House to be something special when it was completed.
“We were not afraid to point something out to a fellow contractor,” said Karl Svensson of Custer who did the interior woodwork and bar. “They would agree and tear it out and started over again,” he said. “We all worked together really well,” he said at the open house last Sunday.
You can bet the Mumms set the bar high on this project. Attention to detail can be seen throughout the building from the basement to the roof. They obviously hired contractors who shared their vision of a completely renovated Kleemann House.
A revitalized downtown Custer began in 2000 with the renovation of an old gas station building on the corner of 5th and Mt. Rushmore streets into an upscale A Walk in the Woods retail building. It continued in 2007 with the tearing down of the old Jenny’s Floral building and construction of a new Victorian-look structure in 2008.
Now we have the rebuilt Victorian style 1883 Kleemann House which continues our downtown improvement look of buildings from that era in Custer. It certainly helps tie together a revitalized downtown area which is the heart of our community.
Congratulations and thank you to the Mumms for their substantial investment in Custer City!
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