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.

The Blue Note and Ragtag/Uprise/Hitt Records buildings honored

This just in — the buildings that house The Blue Note, Ragtag Cinema, Uprise Bakery and Hitt Records will be honored with a new award.

According to this Columbia Missourian March 28, 2017 article, Brent Gardner is creating Cornerstones to highlight downtown businesses and buildings.

The article states that the building at 10 Hitt St. was once the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. plant, built in 1935. The site where The Blue Note is now, 17 N. Ninth St., was where the Star theatre was before the Varsity Theatre was built by Tom C. Hill, who also owned the Hall Theatre, according to the article.

Gardner, the article reports, said an event to celebrate the two businesses could be held in July.

Gardner is a former member of the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, which overseas the city’s Most Notable Properties list and celebration.

April 1 new Bull Pen salvage date

The salvage date for the Bull Pen Cafe has been pushed back to 8 a.m. Saturday, April 1, according to this update from Pat Fowler, a member of the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission

Fowler posted on Facebook, “More information following. Stay tuned. You are cordially invited to attend, tell stories, help us remove the seating and the barn wood inside the sales ring. Bring tools, wear goggles. You get the picture.”

As previously posted, Fowler is looking for help to salvage parts of the Bull Pen Cafe, a local eatery that was open for 60 years prior to its closing in 2007. Salvage efforts are planned for 9 a.m. Saturday, March 25. The Bull Pen is at 2310 Business Loop, Columbia, Missouri.

She and the commission are also looking for stories about the Bull Pen Cafe. For more information, contact Fowler at fowlerpatj@gmail.com, call or text (573) 256-6841.

As Fowler wrote on her Facebook page, and I’m posting her with her permission:

“You may have heard the Bull Pen Cafe will be demolished in the coming weeks. If you grew up in Columbia and attended a livestock auction, you’ll remember the amphitheater seating immediately behind the restaurant. We’d like to remove as many of those seats as we can muster volunteers for. There are also some other cool amenities inside that space we’d like to remove and put in the salvage barn for an upcoming city sponsored sale. Message me here, or on the HPC FB page if you can help. There are lots of great stories to ‘show and tell’ about the Bull Pen Cafe. We’d like to hear them.”

The upcoming demolition was covered in this March 10, 2017 Columbia Missourian article headlined, “Bull Pen Cafe building will face the wrecking ball.”

Here’s a link to a July 20, 2008 Columbia Missourian article about the Bull Pen. The headline is, “Cafe irreplaceable to regulars.

 

Got ideas? Hall Theatre hits 100, faces uncertain future

History, like aging, isn’t for sissies. As this Aug. 28-29, 2016 article outlines, the Hall Theatre is facing an uncertain future as it hits 100. One man, Don Mueller, wants to do something about it.

Now, the 1916 theatre is vacant. Owned by a Stan Kroenke firm, TKG Hall Theatre LLC, it has been vacant since Panera left downtown. So what if Kroenke is worth roughly $8 billion according to Forbes magazine and buys and moves sports teams. It’s up to us, Columbia, to look for ways to keep the historic downtown we’ve got.

So I ask, got ideas? Because a repurposed building is a preserved building. Been to Orr Street Studios? You wouldn’t have wanted to go there in 2005, before Mark Timberlake bought the warehouses and renovated them. Been to Sager Braudis Gallery on Walnut Street? That was a scruffy part of Columbia before John Ott of Alley A Realty renovated it. Now it houses luxury apartments, Wilson’s and a gallery. Scroll down to 2009 and take a peek at the before and after on this page.

This isn’t ancient history. Ott renovated the former grocery warehouse in 2009, Timberlake took his chances on renovating the warehouses in 2005. You can also read more about Ninth Street theatre history in this article I wrote in 2010.

Stephen Daw wrote about it and Alex Scimecca photographed it for the Missourian’s Aug. 28-29, 2016 article. Now it’s our job to take the next step.

 

What are we going to do in 2016?

Got ideas? I’d love to hear them — and I’m sure Don Mueller and TKG Hall Theatre LLC would, too.

 

History literally lights up what you see

Here’s another reason to visit Tallulahs Kitchen store at 812 E. Broadway, in addition to checking out the store’s amazing kitchen tools, gadgets and cookbooks.

Before you go in look up. Really. Above the store front are historic prismatic lenses which were once installed throughout the nation around the turn of the last century to maximize sunlight to supplement indoor lighting.

This article from Missouri Resource Fall 2011, reprinted here with permission, outlines the history of the prismatic lenses and notes how retailers would prefer better lighting and prismatic lenses offered just that.

So what? Who cares about lighting? Well, as a retailer or a consumer — or even an employee or employee — you just might want to consider lighting. This article by Jeffrey Kahn, published April 2009 on Facilitiesnet.com, notes that indirect lighting can make people less productive, the right kind of lighting can make customers linger or even enter an area and bright lighting should be provided to stave off lethargy and, in some cases, Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is connected with a lack of light.

These prismatic lenses also multiply light, so perhaps some day our energy saving efforts will turn our thoughts toward the past to lenses like those at 812 E. Broadway.

History is everywhere – if you know where to look!

 

Ninth and Elm streets until 1969, Columbia Commercial Club

If you thought the destruction of the old Shakespeare’s Pizza at Ninth and Elm the fall of 2015 was a tragedy, it wasn’t the first one at that intersection. This article by Sarah Everett published in the Columbia Business Time on July 27, 2016 shows the a brick building with a columned portico that once occupied the corner opposite Shakespeare’s.

According to the article, that is now the site of the youth center of the Missouri United Methodist Church.

Starting in 1906, it housed the Columbia Commercial Club, the forerunner of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, an organization which successfully campaigned for industry such as the Hamilton Brown Shoe Co. and I-70 and Highway 63. The article notes the last tenant before its destruction in 1969 was the fisheries research department of the Missouri Conservation Commission.

Of course, Shakespeare’s is set to return in August 2016 to the opposite corner on the first floor of the new high-rise apartment building, reportedly the same but better. However, even if the youth center of the church provides valuable services, it’s hard to see that the building that replaced the one torn down in 1969 is an architectural improvement.

It does show, however, that change is constant, even if brick and stone apparently isn’t as solid is one might think.

Hidden high-rise highlighted twice

Here in 2015, there’s lots of talk about whether downtown Columbia should sport so many high-rise apartment buildings, but in 1910, another high-rise faced a different kind of problem — a shortage of steel.

The Guitar Building — which has nothing to do with guitars — at 28 N. Eighth St. was spotlighted in the April 2015 edition of the Columbia Business Times. It was also the subject of “Booches, Guitar Building rack up years downtown,” a column written by Warren Dalton and published on August 29, 2010 in the Columbia Daily Tribune.

Guitar Building, 22 N. Eighth St., historic image and present image, highlighted in article the April 2015 edition of the Columbia Business Times, used with permission.

Guitar Building, 22 N. Eighth St., historic image and present image, highlighted in article the April 2015 edition of the Columbia Business Times, used with permission.

This is one of the important reasons for this site that catalogs information on historic buildings in Columbia, Missouri. Information on Columbia’s history is often revealed in many the city’s publications, but finding everything published on any one location can be difficult.

Do you have information on this building you’d like highlighted? Is there a clue or historical fact on this or any other building in Columbia you want to share? I’d love to hear it, either via comments of to me at dobrien387@gmail.com. Or perhaps you’re not keen on high-rise buildings now — or then. Let me know.

No guitar, only Guitars

So if the building has nothing to do with guitars, what’s up with the name? As the Columbia Business Times Flashback piece notes, the building was constructed by J.H. and E.H. Guitar in 1910, as part of what the article calls the “race to the sky as architects fought to erect the highest, most grandiose structure.” That race to the sky required steel, which was in short supply the article notes. The Guitars headed to Philadelphia to find the steel. (By the way, J.H. Guitar was mayor of Columbia in 1892, when Academic Hall of MU burned, and helped to retrieve items from the burning building during the fire, according to this document, “Columbia Water and Light, Centennial Celebration, 1904-2004.”)

Since it was built, the Guitar Building, Dalton writes, has housed doctors, insurance firms, dentists and others. In 1940, he states, “the main floor was occupied by Conley-Meyers Insurance and Real Estate Agency, Gaylord-Rhodes Insurance Agency, George Sapp Business Office, Ercell Miller Life Insurance and Gem Drugstore. Kelly Press operated in the basement.”

The Columbia Business Times article notes the building today “showcases a mural by local artist Sidney Larson, whose work can also be seen inside the Boone County Courthouse and the Columbia Public Library.” Here’s more information about the mural and other downtown murals in this City of Columbia Murals of Note document.

Neither article notes whether this 1911 high-rise was greeted with fanfare or frowns, but nearly 100 years later, few would call it a high-rise or even raise an eyebrow if such a five-story building were proposed today — if it weren’t planned for the same spot as another Columbia icon at least.