Apartments, Black History, Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, Events, Get involved, Historical Homes

Meeting Saturday: Saving my father’s bookcase

On Saturday, April 6, you’re invited to help write Columbia’s action plan for historic preservation at a meeting from 10 – 11:45 a.m. It will be held in the historic J.W. “Blind” Boone House at 10 N. Fourth Street. Free coffee and snacks will start the event at 9:45 a.m.

It’s a chance to be heard by the Historic Preservation Commission members and help write how we as residents of Columbia want to preserve our history.

So, what do you think should be the city’s priorities? How do you think historic preservation could benefit you? Reply here or on the city’s Historic Preservation Commission’s Facebook page.

Why this is important: My father’s bookcase

For me, historic preservation comes back to my father’s bookcase. When my brothers and I were cleaning out my mother’s house, long after my father had died, one of them held up this battered bookcase/table combination. It didn’t look like much. It was painted a generic white. Clearly, it had seen better days. But just before my brothers tossed it into the dumpster, I said, “I think Dad made that in shop in high school.” We all stopped. “Really? I didn’t know that,” one of my brothers said. “Yeah, I think so,” I said.

We kept it. That’s what historic preservation is all about to me. It wasn’t the bookcase itself. There are lots of small white bookcases in the world. But it was the fact that my father made it — and trust me he wasn’t a master craftsman when he made that bookcase. It gave us a chance to remember and talk about a man who loved and cared for his family the best way he knew how, working long hours, two jobs and repairing everything himself.

Columbia’s bookcases

    • If you were around in 2000/2001, you may remember we almost lost Stephens Park to development. Instead, a city government-citizen partnership provided the push and funding to allow the purchase of this land for one of our city’s most beautiful parks.
    • Or maybe you recall the near loss in 2013 of the Neidermeyer Apartments
    • We’ll be holding the meeting one of the city’s most important historic preservation wins, a journey that took 16 years, the J.W. “Blind” Boone House.

If we’d lost the Boone house, we would have lost the reminder of a man who was born in 1864, the child of a contraband former slave and a Union army bugler. Boone went on to tour the country as a classical and ragtime composer and musician becoming one of the richest men in Boone County before his 1927 death. 

What “bookcases” in Columbia do you want to save? How can the HPC better serve you? What partners should the Commission be seeking?

Let’s have coffee on Saturday and talk about it. I’ll be there to tell you more about my Dad.

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