Online Map of Historic Sites Coming November 2011

In case you missed the July 13, 2010 article in the Columbia Tribune, an online map is in the works which will allow anyone to go online and learn all about Columbia’s 121 Notable Properties and 33 properties and areas on the National Register of Historic Places.

Deb Sheals, a historic preservation consultant, was chosen by the City of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission to conduct the work involved. In addition to Sheals’ local work, she works throughout the state and is one of the state’s most productive historic consultants, according to one state official.

The project is being funded by a $3,660 grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, with a $2,440 local match.

Each entry will include photographs, information on the architect, architectural style as well as information on famous residents or visitors.

This is going to be a terrific resource. I’m marking November 2011 on my calendar now!

See Historic Home Online – Guitar Mansion/Confederate Hill

I love technology, especially when it helps us see beyond our usual small corner of the world.

Technology can even help us appreciate historic sites, such as this antebellum home at 2815 Oakland Gravel Road in Columbia, Missouri.

Here’s a link to a video tour the David Guitar Home at 2815 Oakland Gravel Road, built between 1859 and 1862. This late Victorian Italianate house became known as Confederate Hill in the 1940s when it was owned by Ward Dorrance, in reference to Guitar’s service in the Confederate Army.

The house was named to the National Register of Historic Places on Sept. 9, 1993, but today the house is vacant and on the market at recently reduced price — $499,000.

Here’s a link to the real estate listing which includes an excellent slide show, so you can see every detail on the house.

No matter how you take the tour, you don’t even have to leave your own home to see this beautiful, historic home.

$15 million – Columbia’s Lucky Number

When Missouri’s legislature adjourned this spring it left intact the state’s Historic Tax Credit Program. Of course, the fight may not be over, the Missouri Preservation notes on its website.

Missouri Preservation notes the tax credit program can be thanked for roughly 43,000 jobs, $670,000 million in taxes and $2.9 billion in private investment, according the St. Louis University Study 2010.

Columbia benefited from the tax credit program to the tune of $15 million according to a document on the Missouri Preservation website, “Case Studies: Three Construction Projects in Columbia That Would Not Have Happened Without Historic Preservation Tax Credits.”

The document cites the following projects:

  • $2 million, 2007 renovation of the 1932 Coca Cola Bottling Company on Hitt Street, which now houses the Ragtag Cinema, Ninth Street Video and Uprise Bakery.
  • $10 million, 2007-2008 renovation of the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, which the document notes employed more than 350 workers from more than eight communities in addition to Columbia.
  • $3 million, 2008-2009 renovation of the Berry Building Warehouse on Walnut Street. Once nearly derelict, the building now houses a Wilson’s Fitness Center, 12 luxury apartments and retail space.

Interested in keeping those tax credit dollars flowing? Join Missouri Preservation, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting, supporting and coordinating historic preservation activities in Missouri, and you will be kept informed.

Learn more about the tax credits  here.

Money magazine’s Top 10

Do you ever wonder if those ratings, such as those in Money magazine, make any sense?

I used to, but I’ve since decided the answer is, “Naw.”

I could give you a lot of reasons for that, but here is one. This year’s Number 10 city, Rogers, Arkansas, gets kudos for 23 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

Yawn. Columbia has 20 buildings downtown on the National Register AND four entire areas on the National Register, not including the Francis Quadrangle, which borders the downtown and Stephens College campus, just a few blocks away. Both Francis Quandrangle and Stephens College South Campus are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Of course, if we make next year’s list, I’m taking all this back.

College buildings, museums, bed and breakfasts

Look around your home. Could you imagine it as a museum, a bed and breakfast — or a college building?

Probably neither could Oliver Parker, but that’s exactly what happened to his house. Today, it’s part of Stephens College’s Senior Hall.

Here is a mini-tour of the historic homes in Columbia that are no longer homes.

  • The home of John William “Blind” Boone, a famous ragtime musician, is slated to become a museum. It is located on Second Street in downtown Columbia.
  • Maplewood Home, built in 1877, is a museum, which gives visitors a look at life during the 19th-century.
  • The Samuel H. and Isabel Smith Elkins House at 310 N. Tenth St., now houses Village Glass Works.
  • Williams Hall at Columbia College was built as a home, but was never used as a residence. 
  • The John and Elizabeth Taylor House at 716 W. Broadway is now The Taylor House Inn, a bed and breakfast.
  • The McMurray Home at 1315 University Avenue is now the University Bed & Breakfast.
  • Senior Hall, Stephens College. This dormitory began life as a home built in the 1840s house for Oliver Parker, of New Hampshire. Senior Hall under went renovation in 1990 and today it is home to the Harriette Ann Gray Dance Studio, the Music Program, a board room, recital hall and parlors, according to the Stephens College website.

Historic Walks and Government Documents

True confession: I love government documents, especially the National Register of Historic Places government documents.

You can learn to love them too, because each National Register of Historic Places document contains a trove of information, including maps and photographs.

The documents can even be used for fun — really!

A while back a friend of mine was talking with me and trying to remember just what restaurant used to be located in a certain section of Ninth Street in downtown Columbia. I told her — and I’m telling you — I could find out by looking at the National Register of Historic Places documents for the downtown areas.

These documents can be used to take you on a trip down memory lane, even if you weren’t here back then, by using the old historic maps in the documents which can show you where something used to be. For example, did you know there used to be a service station in downtown Columbia? Do you know what’s there now? I do.

So here are links to the government documents for various areas in downtown Columbia. Download them, print them out and give yourself a tour of the past. Before you know it, you’ll be telling people you love government documents too, or at least these National Register of Historic Places government documents!

Economic Impact of Historic Preservation

The reality of life is that money is finite. There’s not always enough money to do what we’d like to do.

However, a 2001 study conducted by Rutgers indicates historic renovation is economically beneficial.

The report on the study notes in 2000, an estimated $310 million was spent on historic properties. This yielded “8,060 jobs; $249 million in income; … and $292 million in in-state wealth.”

But don’t take this post’s word for it. You can read the entire 207-page report at this link.