In 2009, the Highland Community News editorialized in favor of restoring Roher Building, circa 1899, in the Highland Historic District.
Charles Roberts expressed his hope that “more developers and residents will work to preserve this part of Highland’s past.”
Unfortunately, the Rohrer Building collapsed in a rainstorm in January 2016. It and two other buildings that comprised the Rohrer Bloc were demolished. The bricks are still there, cordoned off by a fence and green tarp.
However, the First Bank of Highland, which opened its doors on April 14, 1904, is still standing at the corner of Main Street and Palm Avenue. It also was the site of Highland’s first telephone office and served as a post office.
Designed by Arthur B. Benton in the Mission Revival style, it’s an architectural gem — or it could be again with a lot of money and hard work.
Roberts’ editorial nine years ago supported the idea of converting the bank into the Highland Historic Museum. He said there was no suitable place to celebrate our history. That’s still the case.
“There are countless documents, columns and books that could fill shelves in the museum, along with historic artifacts not even available to the public at this time,” he said. “And this would not be just for old people, but for the entire public, especially school-age students who could learn a lot from Highland’s past.
During another successful Citrus Harvest Festival last weekend, Colin Childs of the Historic Preservation and Cultural board, led a group through the historic district. Some of us fantasized about restoring the bank. One member of the group said he had been in escrow to buy the building. The price is now $110,000, but the cost of restoration would likely much more.
Nevertheless, the Highland Community News still loves this idea. We encourage the city, local philanthropists and everybody who appreciates our history will explore the possibilities.