Kellyville artist saves historic building

Wednesday, January 4th 2006, 2:20 pm
By: News On 6

Kellyville's welcome sign says the town was established in 1893. The oldest building still standing in town is the bank building at the corner of Buffalo and Main. That old building has new life because Helen Krause made it happen.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells visited the Bank of Art Gallery and Gifts. "This place had so much history." For years it was home to the Kellyville Bank, you can see it in old pictures of Kellyville from the early 1900's, all the other buildings are long gone.

When Helen Krause bought it she hoped it might be someday good for something. "When I bought it 19 years ago I thought it was in tact because an antique store had been in here."

But then the roof caved in and the walls began to crumble. She began working on it three years ago. Some of the salvage work she did herself. "I just did it. You can do anything, when you think you have to."

She mixed concrete and patched walls and prepared the spaces for new windows, why not just tear it down and build new. "Anyone can have a new building, not everyone can have something that has so much history." She's converted it into a gift shop and art gallery, selling both her own art work and other's pieces too. "We can just roll it out and you can see where it was."

Back behind some blankets is old bank's vault, just a carved out space in the wall. People tell her the bank was a frequent target for bank robbers. Rick Wells: "Are you glad you did it?" Helen Krause: "Oh, yes. What makes me feel real good; I didn't know people were so happy about it." But everyone who comes in says how glad they are she saved the old building.

She plans to expand her gift shop into the space next door, sometime around the middle of next month.