Community works to save the Clare House in Gilbert

One of the oldest buildings in the town of Gilbert may soon be demolished.

A developer wants to tear down the Clare House on Gilbert Road and build a Bottled Blonde, but there's a plan to save the historic building.

HD SOUTH, home of the Gilbert Museum, isn't giving up on the Clare House. It's fundraising to move the more than a hundred-year-old building to the museum with the support of the new developer.

"The Clare House is the second-oldest building in all of Gilbert," said Casey Kendel, chair of the redevelopment commission for the Heritage District in the town of Gilbert.

The building dates back to 1918, built by Forrest and Drona Clare.

Map of where the Clare House is:

"Forrest was a sheet metal worker, so he was skilled in sheet metal, and so he built a sheet metal shop and that was actually next door to the house, and he ran that for 50 years. That sheet metal shop was torn down in the mid 70s, but they continued to live in the home," Denise Lopez, president and CEO of HD SOUTH, said.

Over the years, the downtown home became a number of different businesses. Most recently, it was Bergie's Coffee.

"It is a part of Gilbert history. The Clare family was very important to Gilbert as we were a small town growing up, booming into what we are now," Lopez said. "They arrived in Gilbert before we were even incorporated."

HD SOUTH, along with community members, started a fundraiser to save the building after they learned the private equity firm had plans to demolish it and build a Bottled Blonde.

"Right now we've got approximately $23,000 raised. We've got a big uphill battle. We need about $135,000 to move the house and to safely set it and to cover ongoing costs all the way through," Kendel said.

Their goal is to raise enough money to move the original portion of the house down the road and turn it into an exhibit.

"It would be lifted up, put on a truck and driven down the street about a half a mile to HD SOUTH, which is the museum for Gilbert. That building is the oldest building in Gilbert," Kendel said.

However, they need the community's help to make it happen.

"I think that if more people were aware that the second-oldest building in Gilbert was about to be destroyed, that they would pitch in," Kendel said.

Kendel says the private developer promised to pledge whatever it would cost to demolish the house and put that money towards moving the house, which comes out to about $10,000.

Links to fundraisers: