Maplewood:14-foot walls, a $3 million heritage and a $14,400 grant

Fourteen-inch thick walls. Three gifts worth nearly $1 today. And now a $14,400 grant

Those numbers are part of the story of Maplewood, a 1977 historic home owned by the City of Columbia and managed by the Boone County Historical Society.

Maplewood was built by Columbia pioneer Slater Lenoir in 1877, the house has 14-inch thick brick walls. The house was a home for Lenoir’s child Lavinia Lenoir Nifong and her husband Frank Nifong from 1905 until their later years. Lavinia died in 1959, preceded by her husband in 1954.

You can look for those 14-inch thick walls if you like. The Boone County Historical Society offers tours by appointment Thursday – Sunday 12:30- 3:30 p.m. Special arrangements can be made for large groups. For information call 573-443-8936 or email at Chriscampbell@boonehistory.org

Where’s that $3 million?

The $3 million is a little harder to find.

The Nifongs also gave to two organizations what would total roughly $3 million in 2014 purchasing power dollars, according to a calculator on Measuring Worth.

In 1949, the Nifongs gave $100,000 toward a retirement home and in 1953, bequeathed another $100,000 for that purpose, for what now is Lenoir Woods. The Nifongs also gave what is now Boone Hospital Center, but was once Boone County Hospital.

“In 1953, the Nifongs gave $100,000.00 toward the construction of a wing, later named for them, at the Boone County Hospital. Finally, in 1953, the couple deeded the remainder of their farm to the Lenoir Memorial Home. Included in their gift were all the furnishings, antiques, works of art and memorabilia found in the house; all the associated outbuildings and contents; and all farm machinery and equipment,” states the National Register of Historic Places nomination form for Maplewood, which placed the house on the Register on March 13, 1979.

So now you know something that’s not easy to learn. Both the Lutheran Senior Services website that lists Lenoir Woods doesn’t reference the Nifongs, nor does the Boone Hospital Center.

Life moves on with $14,400

The City of Columbia has received a $14,400 grant from the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office. The city will work with the Boone County Historical Society, which operates the house to deal with water damage, structural concerns and electrical issues, according to the city publication, CitySource, Vol. 17, No. 5, May 2015.

Lost Black history spotlighted on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Black history will be the brought back to life on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 with the unveiling of a marker to highlight a place that once existed — Sharp End — will be highlighted. From 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., members of the Sharp End Heritage Commission and city and state officials will mark the unveiling of a historic marker near the REDI offices on Walnut Street.

This once vibrant entrepreneurial area filled with black-owned businesses including barber shops, restaurants, taverns and other firms filled the 500 block of East Walnut Street, now home to the Columbia Post Office and a city parking garage, according to this May 17, 2015 article by Rudi Keller in the Columbia Tribune.

Why is this important?

This site ColumbiaHistoricHomes.com stems from a desire to save and reveal Columbia’s history. Once a person dies, his or her life story can fade. But when there’s a building, that story can be sometimes be found again. For example, few people know that an early woman journalist once lived in the house at 121 West Boulevard North — or that she’d nearly been given up to a wealthy Boonville, Missouri family.

That’s why Tuesday’s event is so important. It will bring back to life history and lives that can’t be highlighted through the buildings and homes, which are all now gone, except for a few notable exceptions, such as J.W. “Blind” Boone’s home, Second Baptist Church and St. Paul’s Church. The history of these buildings is highlighted in this National Register of Historic Places document.

Looking for more of Columbia’s black history? Here are several links:

Black History Lessons by Kevin Walsh, Inside Columbia, February 2015.

Interested in doing your own sleuthing on black history? I can’t wait to dig into this collection at the State Historic Society: Boone County Black Archives Collection. It includes information on the 1923 lynching.

Looking for a great read? Here’s a review of Gary Kremer’s recent book, “Race and Meaning.”

As for me, I’ll be at the event on Tuesday, when Columbia marks history that I’m grateful didn’t fade once the buildings were gone.

Bungalows and local couple celebrated for historic preservation

The bungalow-studded neighborhood on Hubbell Drive and Lucy and Hugo Vianello will be celebrated at a free event set for 6:30 p.m. May 11, 2015, to highlight historic preservation in Columbia, Missouri.

The event, sponsored by Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission, will be held in the historic Missouri Theatre — the building that Hugo and Vianello are being honored for preserving and restoring. The 1928 theatre is at 203 S. Ninth St., Columbia, Missouri. It was modeled after the Paris Opera House and was designed by Boller Brothers, according to this University of Missouri website.

This May 11, 2015 article in the Columbia Missourian outlines the homes and the contributions of the Vianellos.

Each year, the Historic Preservation Commission honors people and places of historic significance.

http://www.columbiamissourian.com/a/188617/historic-preservation-commission-recognizes-hubbell-drives-1920s-bungalows/