This building was built in 1893 and was originally known as the Wolfe-Ellison Block, designed by the architectural firm of Joselyn and Taylor of Cedar Rapids. Joselyn and Taylor designed the original Cedar Rapids Carnegie Public Library and were the supervising architects during the construction of Brucemore, a Queen Anne style mansion in Cedar Rapids that is a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Wolfe – Ellison Block is notable for the decorative brick arches that accentuate its top or cornice. Decorative tin work hides the steel beam that runs above the large plate glass windows at street level. These windows, as well as the steel foot plates seen in the doorway, are common elements of buildings in the Mount Vernon downtown area.
Originally, this site was occupied by a frame building owned by Mr. Smith and Dr. Hogle. After that building burned in the Mount Vernon fire of 1893, Smith and Hogle relocated down the street. The new building, constructed of more fireproof brick and steel, was financed by Mr. Ellison and the Wolfe brothers, who were both medical doctors who lived and worked in Mount Vernon at the turn of the twentieth century. Both men were also known for being active in real estate, and for their leadership in the community.
Dr. John Wolfe, the older of the brothers practiced medicine in Mount Vernon for more than thirty years. Dr. Thomas Lindly Wolfe served as mayor of Mount Vernon and as a member of the Iowa legislature. He was well known locally for his habit of “forgetting” to charge patients of modest means.