The commercial buildings surrounding the Courthouse Square in Grant City represent types found in many rural Missouri towns – one and two story brick vernacular structures on narrow, deep lots. Some of the buildings have pressed metal facades, some have brick corbelling, some have large plate glass windows on the first floor, some have bay windows on the second story, some have side-staircases or balconies. Often these buildings face one of two fates. First, many of these commercial buildings were defaced in the 1970s with unsightly metal coverings or vinyl siding, shingle shed roofs and windows infilled with brick or wood or altered to accommodate smaller windows. Property owners sacrificed unique nineteenth and early twentieth-century structures to the illusion easy maintenance. What made towns like Grant City unique became a predicable copy. Second, many of these turn of the century commercial buildings were abandoned.
The Yetter Building faces the Worth County Courthouse and anchors one corner of the downtown streetscape. Despite its important position, the Yetter Building has been seriously neglected. What were basic maintenance issues were allowed to escalate into major structural issues. The roof leaks and has caused serious interior damage. The mortar in the rear exterior wall has weakened and bricks have fallen out of several courses, destabilizing the bond for some of the walls.
The Grant City Downtown Redevelopment Association acquired the Yetter Building in 2006 and proposes buying the neighboring properties in order to raze all five adjoining structures and “build something new.” Missouri Preservation hopes to introduce the citizens involved with the Grant City Downtown Redevelopment Association to the demonstrated link between historic preservation and economic growth, particularly to how federal tax credits that have been available for the past thirty years and Missouri state tax credits, available for the past ten years, can be used for the renovation or adaptive reuse of historic commercial properties.