Part of historic building collapses in downtown Tipp City, blocks road

A portion of a late 1880s building on the east end of downtown collapsed Sunday afternoon, forcing the closure of Main Street downtown that continued into at least Monday afternoon while the structure that once housed the Buggy Whip business was assessed.

At least part of the first floor of the structure at 216 E. Main St. fell into the basement, which pulled part of the east wall inward, said Rob England, Miami County chief building official.

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“The structure is in very bad shape due to a lack of maintenance. I condemned it (Sunday) until a structural engineer can take a look,” England said Monday morning. “Then, a decision and timeline will be made as to fix or tear down. I am sure costs will be a factor.”

He was returning to the building with Miami County Public Health representatives on Monday.

The Tipp City Fire Department went to the building after a resident stopped at the fire station on West Main Street about 2:45 p.m. Sunday to report he had gone by the building and heard what he believed was a collapse, David Stockler, assistant fire/EMS chief said.

Crews found significant structural damage to the building, which was being used for storage, he said.

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A safe zone was created around the building and a detour of downtown set up. Main Street, also known as Ohio 571, was closed from downtown to Ohio 202.

Information from the Tippecanoe Historical Society says the structure was built in 1889 after a mill on the site, except its office, was destroyed by fire. The new building became home of the Tipp Whip Company and the building became known locally as the Buggy Whip building. The company made whips used by operators of the then popular horse drawn buggy. In more recent years, the property was used for other businesses, including antiques.

“Everybody knows where the Buggy Whip is,” said Mayor Joe Gibson of the structure. “It is very unfortunate that this has happened.”

Gibson and the city council discussed the need for more property maintenance efforts during their biennial strategic planning session earlier this year. The mayor mentioned taking steps on that effort during a recent city council meeting.

The goals include safety first, he said.

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