Downtown retailers

I just found this great article on the history of downtown retailers in my hometown, Columbia, Missouri.

While it is enjoyable reading and the photographs are intriguing, the article doesn’t contain a single citation of the source of the information. The article, “There & Gone,” was published on pages 30 and 31 in Veterinary Medical Review, Spring/Summer 2005. The writing is excellent, very easy to read, but there’s no author cited, so there’s no way to know who wrote it.

Nor is there a credit, a source or even a date on a single one of the photographs. Finally, there’s a mash-up of three or photographs.

In journalism, there are only a handful of reasons not to cite sources, i.e. the information is common knowledge (the Missouri River runs through Missouri), it is easily found in resource material (the population of Columbia recently hit 100,000), or the reporter saw/heard/experienced it him or herself (if you are at a fire and hear and explosion).

But in this article, information such as when K-Mart was at its zenith, it was the country’s No. 2 retailer. This information is not common knowledge, it not easily found, but it is possible the reporter knew this personally.

Why should anyone care about citing sources? It is hard to rely on information if you don’t know where it came from. For example, you don’t want health information from someone who is not qualified to provide such information. I’m not saying the information in the article is not correct. I’m just saying as a journalist, it’s my job to double-check it and to cite my sources.

For now, I’ll just enjoy reading this article in the hopes that I will be eventually be able to find sources to confirm what it reports.

Industrial development redux

It is interesting to see how history repeats itself. Once again, those in charge of Columbia’s economic development are casting their eyes toward ways to bring more industrial development to the city.

That’s old news. “In 1873 the city government believed that Columbia ‘should give every possible encouragement toward fostering a spirit of manufacturing industris, offered tax advantages to new industry,” according to “Columbia: From Southern Village to Midwestern City,” by Alan R. Havig.

In 1906-1907, Columbia raised funds “to build a plant, provide a railroad siding and supply low-cost utilities and workers,” according to Havig’s book. The plant was the Hamilton-Brown Shoe Factory, which still exists, although today it is an office building.

Hamilton-Brown operated the shoe factory until 1939 and in between, the city authorities decided the company had met its side of the agreement, despite it employment of just a little more than half the 600 workers it had promised, and deeded the building to Hamilton-Brown.

However, the number of workers at Hamilton-Brown was significant, with 340 people on its payroll, compared to the 350 peopel employed at University of Missouri at the same time.

In May 2010, IBM announced it would open a technology service delivery center in Columbia, saying it would employ roughly 800 workers. According to a May 17, 2010 article in the Columbia Tribune, the incentive package to IBM includes buying the building where the company will do business and then leasing it to them for $1 a year for 15 years.

In contrast, today the University of Missouri employs more than 8,000 people, which does not include the University Hospital and Clinics employees.

So is luring employers to Columbia a good idea? I don’t know, but I know it’s not a new idea.

610 W. Broadway correction

Sometimes even journalists like myself get it wrong. That’s when a correction is in order, even when it is a mistake easily corrected such as on a website.

A page on my site gave the incorrect name for the owners of this 1917 house at 610 W. Broadway, which was named to the Columbia Most Notable Properties List in February 2011. The information has been corrected.

I realized my mistake when I found this resource on line. It is the West Broadway Historic District Property Information Form Prepared by Debbie Sheals for the West Broadway Neighborhood Association 2009. The document is available on line here.

According to this document:

“This lovely home was built about 1917 by A. Fredendall, pioneer Columbia Clothier and merchant.  Mr.Fredendall owned the first Columbia department store, a forerunner of Parks.  At a later date Leonard Morris, restauranteur lived here then the Boyd Lucas family.  The Lucas family owned the Missouri Store, forerunner of the successful and long-standing Mo. Book Store.  Still later, the H.R. Muellers owned and still own here.  TheMuellers had lived in the 900 block of W. Broadway and came here.  Mr. Mueller owned and operated the H.R. Mueller Florist Co.  The family continues his business.”

The owners by year, according to the document:

1925-26 A. Fredendall

1930-36 B. W. Lucas

1940 Boyd. W. Lucas

1947-1979 H. R. Mueller

See the 2011 Historic Properties

Here’s a link to a PowerPoint with photographs of this year’s Most Notable Properties.

Each year, the City of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission names several properties to its Most Notable Properties List. The purpose of the list is to acknowledge Columbia’s outstanding historic features.

This year five properties were named to the list:

901 E. Broadway, Haden Building, 1921. Now the site of Commerce Bank, this building is on the site where the Haden Opera house once stood and dates back to 1921. The two previous buildings on this site burned down.

1602 Hinkson Ave., Joseph and Mary Duncan House, circa 1906. Built for retired farmer Joseph W. Duncan, it may have been built from mail-order plans, an idea suggested, the article notes, due to the “refined style and unusual combination of architectural styles…”

601 W. Broadway, A Fredendahl House, circa 1920s. Owned today by Mike and Jewell Keevins, according to the article, the house was built by A. Fredendahl, owner of Columbia’s first department store, which was located at 19-25 S. Ninth Street. The first floor of that building remains, while the upper floors were removed during the 1950s.

1615 Business Loop 70 W., Columbia Municipal Airport, 1970s. Now Cosmo Park, it was once site of a 110-acre farm of Moss Jones, which then became the location of the Allton Flying Service owned and operated by John and James Allton. They sold the site  to Columbia for a municipal airport around 1932. The city expanded the site and operated the 500-acre facility as an airport until the 1960s, the article notes, before opening the Columbia Regional Airport south of Columbia.

310 N. Providence Road, Douglass High School, 1917. Built to serve the city’s African-American population prior to the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling outlawing segregation, today, the school serves is an integrated high school. The full, complex history of the school can be found here.

Berry Building Receives State Honor

On Wednesday, Missouri Preservation will present the Preserve Missouri Award to John Ott for his renovation of the Berry Building, a former warehouse and grocery at 1025-33 Walnut Street.

Once nearly derelict, today the 33,000-square-foot building gleams with PS Gallery and Independent Staves, a firm that manufactures and sells wine and whiskey barrels all over the world, sharing the street level space. The first tenant was Wilson’s Fitness on the lower level and all 12 of the luxury loft apartments on the upper floors are leased.

Missouri Preservation is a nonprofit dedicated to historic preservation promotion, support and coordination. The event is sponsored by a number of firms including Commerce Bank and Murry’s Restaurant, and will include presentation ceremony, luncheon and keynote address by Lt. Governor Peter Kinder.

It’s the first time a Columbia building has been among the buildings honored by Missouri Preservation since 2008, when 1927 Central Dairy building was honored. The year prior, 2007, both the Howard Municipal Building and Gentry Buildings on Broadway were honored.