April 14, 2013 – Pianists house is an asset; City’s black history bigger than Boone – Author Doug Hunt argues in this opinion piece that the J.W. “Blind” Boone home at 10 N. Fourth St., should be saved to mark Boone’s success despite obstacles.
March 30, 2013 – Candidates give thoughts on “Blind” Boone home – Candidates for Columbia City Council and mayor offer opinions on whether the city should fund the completion of the renovation of the home of J.W. “Blind” Boone at 10 N. Fourth Street. The exterior of the house has been renovated, but inside requires roughly $500,000 in improvements. Columbia Daily Tribune.
March 19, 2013 – Council questions Blind Boone home expenditure – A proposal by Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes to spend $475,000 of a city surplus to finish the restoration of the J.W. “Blind” Boone Home was strongly debated at a City Council meeting.
August 11, 2011 — These Old Houses or Two houses preserve part of Columbia’s history. This Vox magazine article focuses on the John W. “Blind” Boone house at 10 N. Fourth St., and the Taylor House at 716 W. Broadway. The online version includes great pictures of both homes.
The house at 10 N. Fourth St., once home to J.W. “Blind” Boone, a musician who lived from 1864-1927, is being renovated with a tribute garden and museum planned for the site.
A new website went up in July 2010 to publicize the efforts, educate people and to provide a place where people can learn and make contributions.
The home of John William “Blind” Boone at 10 N. Fourth Street is a perfect example of history that could have been lost, but for the efforts of dedicated volunteers and public funding.
The residence of an African-American pianist who played and composed ragtime and classical music and resided in Columbia until his death in 1927, it was nearly lost to renovations and decay.
Boone was one of the most famous men from Columbia, but after his death in 1927, his home was sold and once housed the Stuart Parker Memorial Funeral Home and then the Warren Funeral Chapel. The Warren enterprise was the only African-American-owned business to survive the urban renewal razing of the 1960s, according to a Special Business District and Central Columbia Association website publication.
But when the city purchased the home in 2000, it had termites and structural damage. It required nearly half a million dollars in improvements.
Now the home is slated to become a museum dedicated to the life and music of Boone.
The home itself isn’t very special; it is simply a two-story wood frame home, but the history it embodies is priceless. Despite being born during the Civil War and then becoming blind through efforts to reduce a fever by removing his eyes, Boone’s slogan as a touring pianist and composer was “Merit, Not Sympathy Wins.”
In 2012, a ragtime festival named in his honor, “The Original ‘Blind” Boone Ragtime & Early Jazz Festival,” was held on June 9 and 10, 2010 in the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts on Ninth Street.
A play about his life, “Nobody plays like Boone,” was performed on May 16, 2010 in the Second Baptist Church, 407 East Broadway, Columbia and on May 21, 6:30 p.m. in The Blue Note Theatre at 17 North 9th Street, Columbia.
For more information about the Boone home and its history, see these two articles: