Damaged From Delmont Tornado, The “Onion House” Is On Its Way To Restoration

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It’s been almost two years since a tornado leveled many homes and businesses in the small South Dakota town of Delmont.

Now, a historic landmark, known as the Onion House, which was damaged in the storm, is on its way to restoration.

Crews are working to repair a rich piece of Delmont’s history, starting with the uniquely-shaped dome that gives the Onion House its name.

“It is a historical landmark. I remembered it as a child,” Leo Holzbauer said.

Leo Holzbauer, a Wagner native caught his first glimpse of the historic home passing down Main Street with his father years ago.

“I said, Man! That’s quite a building out here in Delmont, South Dakota,” Holzbauer said.

In May of 2015, however, an EF-2 tornado came roaring through the town, destroying dozens of homes, and leaving the Onion House in shambles.

When its out-of-state owners wanted to raze the damaged building, Holzbauer bought the home to save it from demolition. Yet it wasn’t long before he decided to give it away.

“One morning I woke up and I said, ‘You know Leo, you should give that to the Historical Society of Delmont.’ I said. ‘They’re the ones that should really have this building,” Holzbauer said.

The Onion House has served a variety of purposes over the years; it’s been a hospital, a clothing store, and a private home. As one of those who used to hold the deed to the property, Holzbauer couldn’t be happier with what’s its new owners are doing with it now. 

“A lot of people look forward to this. Over the years, the Onion House was always the main attraction for Delmont,” Dick Straid, Delmont Vice President, said.

Now that the reconstruction is underway, City officials are hoping to return the landmark back to its former glory. Restoring the building is expected to cost about $50,000.

City officials say they still need about $15,000 to finish repairs. If you’d like to donate, you can visit their GoFundMe page

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