Areas, Events, Get involved

Speak up about CoMo entrepreneurs on the Business Loop

On March 12, 2019, you’ll be able to speak up and get involved in the future of the Business Loop and help entrepreneurs take root along this busy corridor.

A community town hall meeting open to the public will be held from 6 to 7 p.m., according to a website set up to support developing the area. The event will be in room 241 in the Parkade Plaza at 601 Business Loop 70.

Another session will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. for local artisans, i.e., “makers, manufacturers, and producers,” according to the website

The Loop is an organization dedicated to supporting the development of the Business Loop. It has received a “Smart Growth American grant designed to encourage local, small-scale manufacturing … to revitalize an underperforming area of the city and create new economic opportunities,” according to The Loop’s website.

The website is already up to start registering artisans and resources. Check it out here.

Read more about it at this link an article by Jennifer Truesdale published Nov. 29 , 2018 in the Columbia Business Times.




Areas, General

Where are CoMo’s unique neighborhoods?

Neighborhoods. Streetscapes. Where we live. Cities, even CoMo, are made up of neighborhoods, often with a streetscape, a way the area looks that’s uniform — or not.

These neighborhoods with their own streetscapes are the places where we live, it’s where you and I might actually know the people (and, for me, the dogs) who live there.

And each one is unique. What neighborhood in CoMo do you think has its own look, a unique or unusual look? Does your neighborhood feel cohesive? Quirky without common features? Or even cookie cutter with reassuring similarities? Share comments or photos below.

Here’s a link to a post on the blog B.E.L.T. about an area that has a quirky, yet delightful streetscape. B.E.L.T. stands for Built Environment in Layman’s Terms and it highlights what’s called Mid-Century Modern, MCM, buildings built from 1940-1970.

The article highlights the Berkeley, Missouri’s Frostwood Subdivision, a North County St. Louis neighborhood made up of Mid-Century Modern homes.

The subdivision, built between 1952 and 1956, has a quirky streetscape. The homes don’t all have a single set-back or orientation, so some of the houses look directly onto streets and some are sited on a slight tilt to the street, giving each home its own view of the area.

Take a peek!

Definitely not a cookie-cutter subdivision!

Is there a CoMo version of this kind of subdivision?

The subdivision I live in is the new Southwest, just west of West Boulevard, including Sunset Drive, Crestland, Francis Drive and the saints —  St. Christopher, St. Michaels and St. Andrew. It feels like its own community within Columbia. I know if I go for a walk, I might see Ginger, Loki or Guinness and their owners. (Yes, I’m a hard-core dog owner.)

The homes are mainly one level — or look like one level. Many have a walk-out ranch layout like mine with a full basement used as living space, but you can’t see from the front that the lower level even exists.

Built 1955
Built 1955

As our neighborhood has aged, it was developed in the 1950s and 1960s, houses have changed the way they look. One house was recently rehabbed and now sports a front porch with room enough to gather outside under the new small porch roof. We also have in our neighborhood one of the very few houses I’ve ever seen painted all black. I always wonder if the house color affects their cooling bills in the summer.

Of course, some changes involve landscaping. A new shade tree gives a house a settled look. A fresh front door color highlights the 50s look of our long, low Mid-Century Modern homes.

But whatever the landscaping or home improvements, our streetscape stays basically the same, a look that tells me I’m home in my own neighborhood.

What are your favorite neighborhoods in CoMo? What kinds of different streetscapes have you noticed in Columbia? Leave comments or photos in the comment section!

Areas, Brick streets, Resources - Reports

Map mania, gawkers welcome

Calling all history and map lovers! The city of Columbia offers more than nine pages of maps and visual information.

Take a peek and let me know what maps you found the most fun and informative.

You can take a look at a street map of Columbia’s brick streets, a map of Columbia’s historical properties and even download a post of street maps from 1955, 1978, 1989, 1999, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Here’s how. I’ve created screenshots to show you how to find some of my favorite treasures of visual information.


2018 Screenshot of
2018 Screenshot of

2018 2 City Map Resources2018 3 City Map Resources2018 4 City Map Resources2018 5 City Map Resources Street Maps Historical2018 6 City Map Resources Street Maps Historical

Areas, Historical Homes, Resources - Reports

A 1994 view of East Campus

On Monday, Columbia City Council OK’d the creation of a new East Campus neighborhood association. But on this website, I like to look into the past.

Here’s a report from February 1994 that will let you take a peek at the past in the East Campus area. The document includes a 1931 map of the area and an explanation of how the area grew.

Below is a link to coverage of the July 16, 2018 city council meeting.

July 17, 2018 — Council approves new East Campus neighborhood association. Source: Columbia Missourian. Summary: City Council voted to recognized a new neighborhood association for the East Campus area. The new association is the East Campus Traditional Neighborhood Association, made up mainly of landlords. The older organization, the East Campus Neighborhood Association is an older organization made up mainly of homeowners, according to the article.

Areas, Commercial Buildings, Tours

1978 look at Broadway, Seventh and Ninth streets

Miller Shoe Store, 800 East Broadway, courtesy the City of Columbia
800 E. Broadway in 2002. What was there before? A 1978 report will tell you. Photo courtesy the City of Columbia

Want to take a walk through the past? This 1978 historic survey report on Columbia’s buildings on Broadway, Seventh and Ninth streets and it reads like a walk through time, describing the buildings as they were in 1978 — and what they once looked like and what was there before then.

For example, the report on 720 E. Broadway, now Central Bank of Boone County, states the building once sported bronze doors.

The report goes on to state in 1889, the lot was home to a carriage factory and harness shop. Between 1889 and 1895, a three-story brick building on that spot housed “various smithys, groceries and lodge halls,” the report states. “In 1916 these two buildings were demolished for the present Boone County Bank.”

The report contains a page or two on each building on Broadway, some on Seventh and Ninth streets, pictures and citations to newspaper and other publications.

So download the report, print it out and if the weather ever cools down, take a walk through the past and try to see what was once there and what’s left behind.

Areas, Commercial Buildings, Historical Homes, Resources - Reports, University of Missouri

Dangers of historical research

I started off my work day planning to post the news about the bed and breakfast at 606 S. College heading for closure in December, part of MU’s budget cutting efforts.

While this bed and breakfast is set to close, the East Campus Bed & Breakfast  opened recently. Here’s a link to its website.

When I started to research the now closed B&B, before I knew it, four hours had passed and I’d spent the time learning about the roots of Columbia, MU and the East Campus neighborhood. The work also yielded three government documents including this 1995 East Campus Neighborhood Historic District National Register of Historic Places document, this undated East Campus Survey city document,  and this 1994 document Final Report of A Survey of the East Campus Neighborhood, Columbia, Missouri, Phase One.

These documents are filled with photos, maps and the 1994 document includes some oral history. The oral history is interesting because it reveals people’s attitudes and opinions, some of which we’d find objectionable today.

Here’s the news on the closure in case you want to learn more, too, without the four-hour rabbit hole of research!

  • June 15, 2017 — The Gathering Place will close in December due to budget cuts at MU, Columbia Missourian. Summary: The bed and breakfast at 606 S. College will be closed by MU. It has been operating since 1996. It has been owned by the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources since 2008. The article states that MU expects to save $150,000 per year by closing the bed and breakfast, which was to have provided experience for MU hospitality students. The article cites the bed and breakfast’s website as stating that the house was built by Cora Davenport in 1906 and has been used as a fraternity house for Lambda Chi Alpha, Alpha Gamma Rho, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Sigma Tau Gamma.
Apartments, Areas, demolition

Demolishing James Apartments: More than the loss of one building

Why should we care about one building being demolished? One building older than 100 years doesn’t seem like much to lose. We have lots of buildings, right? Yes and no.

This Feb. 16, 2016 article by Brittany Crocker with photos by Mikala Compton published in the Columbia Missourian explains why the loss of one building can do so much harm. Zip down to the part where Deb Sheals, a historic preservation expert, is quoted.

The article quotes Sheals saying, “The thing about a historic district is it’s a collection. Each property by itself may not be the most historic building, but together they’re a pretty important grouping. As we keep chopping away at our downtown, we’re losing that character.”

Sheals goes on to note how the Niedermeyer was saved several years ago. Columbia City Council couldn’t say no to someone using the property and the land in whatever way he or she wanted. Instead, a local person bought the property and is restoring it.

In this case, the owners of the James Apartments said they had an offer from a developer that was too lucrative to refuse. So after gaining rents from the building for years, a profitable offer came and they took it. There’s no way to ask the former owners of the building how they’ll feel about Columbia once it is all high-rise apartments. Whether they’ll go downtown to shop or eat when they’re so sunshine able to make its way to the sidewalks.

And there will be no way to go back to the quirky look of Columbia once it’s all high-rise buildings and franchise eateries. Because that character, that look, those historic buildings will be lost.

Perhaps something better, grander, more interesting will be in its place. Certainly, whatever was there before the Tiger Hotel was there is gone, and who doesn’t love the historic Tiger Hotel. But I’m not personally convinced that a 10-story apartment building is going to be the treasure that the Tiger or the Missouri Theatre have become.

But I need to be willing to wait and see because the James Apartments will soon be history.