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.

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