Evans Block Building
“We will be blending a historical treasure with modern technology to allow us to better serve our clients. The building will reflect who we are, an established law firm which represents clients using historical legal precedents, new ideas, and creativity.” - Senior Partner, James Redmond
The Restoration of the Historical Evans Block Building
The Evans Block Building became the new home of Heidman Law Firm on August 6, 2006. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and is considered an outstanding example of Richardson Romanesque architecture.
Built in 1890 by Sioux City businessman and banker Fred T. Evans, the Evans Block Building originally served as home to his Northwestern National Bank. In addition to business endeavors in Sioux City, Evans was prominent in developing the Black Hills region, especially the town of Hot Springs, South Dakota. His Black Hills quarries provided the sandstone for the building’s exterior walls. Local architect Charles P. Brown designed the building. One of the area’s prominent architects, Brown was also the architect of the 1892 Sioux City Public Library, the Massachusetts Block, the Metropolitan Block and the Sioux City Corn Palace of 1890.
The Richardson Romanesque style takes its name from Henry Hobson Richardson, who gave his own interpretation to the massive Romanesque architecture of Southern France and Spain that inspired him. This innovative style is easily recognizable by the heavy sculpted stone facades, rounded arches, squat columns and deep doorways that are often defined by contrasting textures or colors. During the height of its popularity in the late 1800s, Richardson Romanesque was favored by churches, university buildings and public buildings such as railroad stations and courthouses.
Having been declared “unfit for human occupancy,” the Evans Block Building seemed destined for demolition. However, developer Bart Connelly took great care to preserve or rebuild as much of the original architecture as possible. “I have always considered the renovation of this historic building to be a fun, exciting restoration, not just another commercial building project,” said Bart Connelly. “The building was built in 1890 as a bank,” explained Connelly, “and to be able to turn it back into office space is a dream come true.” Using photos from the era the building was built, he has returned the building to its original glory. With its unique blend of massive geometric blocks and ornate designs of foliage, thistles and columns, the Evans Block Building now stands as a crown jewel in the Sioux City community’s historic district.
Local architect Todd Moss was retained to design the Heidman Law Firm floor plan consistent with the historical elements of the building, while meeting the functional needs of the law firm well into the twenty-first century. The building features a 19-foot high ceiling on the first floor, impressive windows on the north and east sides of the building and an interior staircase illuminated by a stunning atrium skylight. A state-of-the-art elevator was added to the rear of the building.
The Evans Block Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
During the original construction of the building, workers were given meals of steak to keep them well fed, happy and willing to work into the evening hours. Nearly 120 years later, renovation workers found steak bones hidden in the building’s infrastructure.
The Heidman Law Firm traces its roots back to George Conway, who started practicing law in Sioux City in 1891, a mere year after the Evans Block Building was built.
The building’s original owner, Fred T. Evans, also built Evans Plunge in Hot Springs, South Dakota. At the time, it was the largest indoor swimming pool in the world!
The location of the current elevator tower was formerly a livery stable.
It previously was a hotel, drugstore, baking powder manufacturer, laundry, tavern, antique store, and motorcycle clubhouse. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Evans Block building housed Robe Furniture Store, proprietor, Robie Stone.
The sandstone blocks on the lower floors of the building’s front are two feet thick. The blocks, however, are six inches narrower by the time they reach the fourth floor.
The oldest book in the building’s law library is the 1850 Code of Iowa, published in 1851.
In the spring of 1892, after a heavy spring thaw followed by massive rains, the Floyd River flooded 4th Street. Flood 1892