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Kraft Building Community Project

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When a cornerstone Main Street building in our small community was devastatingly damaged by fire after a lightning strike in 2006, the Mount Carroll Community Development Corporation (“CDC”) stepped in to save the building from abandonment and demolition.  Through various grants and loans funding renovations Market Street Commons rose from the ashes of the Kraft building.  The building serves as an official Welcome Center for visitors to the communities growing downtown business district and is also a small business incubator. With the first floor renovations fully completed, the historical building has become a destination and is home to a robust and popular coffee/sandwich shop and has created 9 new local jobs since inception.

Lou Schau, who spearheaded this community project, sadly passed away unexpectedly in January 2015. He worked tirelessly to restore the burned out Kraft Building for the benefit of the entire Mount Carroll community. Both Lou and the CDC have a shared goal to complete the second floor and basement renovations, making both handicap accessible via an elevator. A memorial fund for Lou has been created to facilitate the purchase and installation of the elevator. When completed, a plaque will be installed in Lou’s memory in honor of his tireless dedication and community spirit.

Currently, the second floor is the major focus point of this campaign. The entire floor is barren of walls and ceilings throughout.  Removed after the fire, it was then that teams of volunteers painstakingly cleared the entire upstairs of debris, garbage and old items in preparation for its renovation. This project is in need of walls, doors, flooring, ceilings, insulation, ductwork, electrical work, and plumbing in order to make this space available to local renters. I have made a draft video available for viewing at:

We really need your help to keep the idea alive and complete the unfinished work on this important community cornerstone. Our goal is to continue to grow and maintain Market Street Commons as a welcoming community space and encourage vibrant new businesses to grow and flourish inside this historically unique and grand building.


Eina JL Schroeder
Mount Carroll, IL

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