Black women fighting for equality

Strong women fighting for equality isn’t new. At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, MU History Professor Keona K. Ervin will discuss her book, “Gateway to Equality: Black Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in St. Louis.”

The event will be held in Fisher Auditorium in 88 Gannett Hall.

According to an announcement from the State Historical Society of Missouri, one of the sponsors of the event, her talk will cover these historic times:

“From the Great Depression to the 1960s, the city of St. Louis experienced significant decline as its population and industrial base stagnated while its suburbs expanded. To combat ingrained racism, crippling levels of poverty, and substandard living conditions, black women workers in St. Louis formed a community-based culture of resistance, fighting for fair and full employment, a living wage, affordable housing, political leadership, and personal dignity… and … effectively grounded working-class struggle in movements for racial justice and set the stage for the defining campaigns of the explosive 1960s.”

The lecture by Ervin is part of a series is sponsored by the State Historical Society of Missouri’s Center for Missouri StudiesUniversity of Missouri’s Division of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity; and the Missouri Humanities Council.

See an Eero Saarinen in Columbia, Missouri

Don’t get in the car! I mean it! No need to drive six hours to see an Eero Saarinen designed building or even two hours to see one.

While I’m embarrassed to admit I just got around to reading the Winter 2016 edition of Preservation magazine, I was rewarded for this tardy reading by finding an article about a gem of a house designed by Eero Saarinen. What? Who’s Eero Saarinen and what does he have to do with historic sites in Columbia, Missouri?

Eero Saarinen was the designer of the St. Louis Arch — and the Firestone-Baars Chapel on the campus of Stephens College right here in Columbia, Missouri. So you can drive two hours to see his work or walk over to Stephens College.

The college is the site for the Unbound Book Festival which will be held April 19-21, 2018. The chapel has been used for various activities at the Unbound Book Festival in the past.

Just gotta get in the car? OK, OK, here’s the scoop on another Eero Saarinen-designed building that’s a six-hour drive from Columbia, Missouri. The Miller House was a collaboration of architect Eero Saarinen, “interior designer Alexander Girard, and landscape architect Dan Kiley,” according to the Preservation magazine article. Take a peek to see if you can find a resemblance.

 

Missouri-Beverly Hillbillies connection

I love surprises and I love learning things about my adopted state Missouri. So imagine my delight when I learned about Missouri’s connection to “The Beverly Hillbillies,” the 1960s hit national television show.

The surprise comes from the publication of a new book about the writer of the television series. The book is “The First Beverly Hillbilly: The Untold Story of the Creator of Rural TV Comedy.” 

If you’re too young to remember, “The Beverly Hillbillies,” was a rural comedy that ran for eight seasons until 1971 and was the No. 1 television show in its first two seasons, according to this Dec. 4, 2010, article on the CCHeadliner.com website.

The Missouri Connection

The writer of the show Paul Henning was an Independence, Missouri native and his wife Ruth Henning wrote a book about their life in Hollywood. The manuscript was completed in the 1990s, but went unpublished until 2017. A book launch was held in September 2017 in Independence to mark the book’s publication.

A review in the January 2018 issue of the Missouri Historical Review calls the biography a lighthearted chronical of Paul Henning’s career path from “midwestern radio programs to Hollywood television producer and screenwriter.”

The book, “The First Beverly Hillbilly: The Untold Story of the Creator of Rural TV Comedy,” is available at the Columbia Public Library. It is, of course, also available electronically at amazon.com, where it has gotten 4 1/2 stars.

In the television comedy, the main characters, the Clampetts, hailed from the Missouri Ozarks, near Silver Dollar City. Some of the shows were filmed at Silver Dollar City and the shows often featured references to Branson and the area.

The Hennings were smitten with the Ozarks area and bought and donated 1,534 acres to the state of Missouri and it is now the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area west of Branson.

Missouri never fails to surprise me and I hope you like this kind of surprise as much as I do.

503 Westwood Avenue

So what’s a historic home? Does a 1950 home in a historic neighborhood count? I’d say so. When I saw that the house at 503 Westwood Ave. was up for sale, I knew I had to take a peek. Here’s your chance to do the same via the House of Broker’s site.

Note, I don’t usually focus on buildings that aren’t on either the Columbia, Missouri Notable Properties list or the National Register of Historic Places, but this is a gem and if I wasn’t adverse to packing up my life, I’d move there in a minute.

Enjoy taking a peek at a historic home!

Favorite historic building fireplace?

This Saving Places blog post highlights photographs and information from six famous fireplaces from the nonprofit’s Preservation magazine.

Sadly, not one of them is from our part of the country, Missouri, also known as the fly-over zone.

But I’m betting people in Columbia, Missouri have their own favorite fireplaces from historic buildings. I’d love to see them and I’m sure all of us in these chilly days would love to see any warm you can provide!

A doctorate in historic preservation?

A recent news release proclaimed Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation was offering the United States’ first Ph.D. program in historic preservation. Yet, a search reveals the University of Texas at Austin has already been offering doctorate study in architecture and historic preservation.

 

Either way, an opportunity to learn about historic preservation is available much closer to home — right here in Missouri and without the graduate fees.

On March 26-28, 2018, Main Street Now will hold a conference of the National Main Street Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Information on the event states that it brings together “doers, makers, and innovators to address challenges and take advantage of opportunities facing 21st-century downtowns and commercial districts.”

Worried you’re not Main Street Now material? The website states the event attracts professionals in preservation community revitalization … and volunteers. That pretty much could include anyone. Note the price tag isn’t low. Attending one day is $325, and there are half-day deals as well.  Either way, it’s still much cheaper than graduate school.

See art and the Niedermeyer Apartments

I’m a historic voyeur, always looking for opportunities to peek inside the historic buildings I write about. Surprisingly, not everyone welcomes me into their home or building to see the historic inside. Sometimes I find real estate videos or photos, but now here’s a unique chance to see the Neidermeyer.

From 5-8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, there will be a pop-up show featuring the work of 10 UMC artists, according to a Coming Up notice in the Nov. 27, 2017 Columbia Daily Tribune.

Yes! It’s a winner. Art and history!

1907 photograph, when the Niedermeyer Apartments were the Gordon Hotel. Photo from the Missouri State Historical Society, with the notation of no known copyright restrictions.

1907, when the Niedermeyer Apartments were the Gordon Hotel. Photo from the Missouri State Historical Society, with the notation of no known copyright restrictions.

But it’s also a miracle story. If you’re new around Columbia, you might not remember 2013 fight for the Niedermeyer’s existence.

At that time, there were rumors, then plans, then news that a company was going to buy the Niedermeyer, raze it and build a student-focused apartment building there. This Feb. 10, 2013 Columbia Daily Tribune article,  “If walls could talk”, outlines the history of the building.

The article written by Andrew Denney states it was the site of the Columbia Female Academy from 1837 until about 1854. The building was rented out as a residence from 1865 until 1895. From 1895 until about 1911, it was operated as a hotel. For a period of time, it housed the MU Department of Domestic Science. In 1921, it reopened as the Niedermeyer Apartments, the article continues.

The Niedermeyer was saved from destruction by Nakhle Asmar, who planned to buy and renovate the buildings, according to this Columbia Daily Tribune March 13, 2013 article, “Buyer plans to start with basic fixes.”

This destruction and construction boom even caught the eye of the New York Times, which published this article on June 13, 2013, “In Student Housing, Luxuries Overshadow Studying.”  In summary, it highlights the downtown student housing boom, and includes statements from various people expressing concern about the area being overbuilt, how students may or may not be spoiled by all the luxuries at the new housing, as well as one comment which called the new apartments “soulless” compared to the Niedermeyer Apartments.

Here’s another way you can get a peek, even without attending Friday’s event. This blog put together by the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Department and City of Columbia has this post on the Niedermeyer with lots of inside photos!

You can get a view of the outside and some history in this City of Columbia video made to commemorate the building’s addition to the 2013 Most Notable Properties list. Forward to 3:03 and watch until 4:42, unless you really like the music.

Here’s the Columbia Missourian article about the Neidermeyer when it was named to the 2013 list.

But you don’t have to rely on newspaper articles or videos to see the Neidermeyer on the inside with Friday’s event. See you there?