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.

 

Bull Pen Cafe set for salvage and demolition, looking for stories and help

Pat Fowler of the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission 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.

 

Did you miss this good news?

Downtown historic Columbia, Missouri might just be getting bigger. Here are some news articles about John Ott and Alley A, his firm’s plans for 300 N. Tenth St.

The former Koonse Glass building is on the other side of the historically acknowledged downtown area of Columbia. The building at Tenth Street and Park Avenue could soon house a grocery, possible cafe and cooking class venue. This will, I hope, extend and enhance the downtown vibe.

While many might bemoan the continued building of high-rise apartments, this could be a sign that more people living downtown means more opportunities to repurpose the buildings. As history and life moves on, one type of business may leave downtown, but there is always another wave of businesses moving in.

What examples of types of businesses moving in or out of the downtown do you remember?

Here’s a round-up of news about 300 N. Tenth St.

  • Nov. 10, 2016 — Board of Adjustment OKs repurposing Koonse Glass building, Columbia Missourian. Summary: The building at 300 N. Tenth St. (Park Avenue and Tenth Street), was given a variance on set-back requirements for the creation of a new entrance. The building is now owned by John Ott and managed by his firm Alley A. It formerly housed Koonse Glass, a company founded in 1967, according to this article in the Columbia Business Times. Note: Koonse Glass has moved to a new location. Here’s a link to Koonse Glass‘ new company website.
  • Oct. 8, 2016 — Root Cellar grocery relocating to old Koonse Glass building, Columbia Missourian. Summary: Grocery owned by Jake and Chelsea Davis will move to 300 N. Tenth St., building the fall of 2016. The article states, “The Davis’ chose the new location, once a feed and seed store, partly because of its history and their interest in historic preservation. The couple plans to use the larger space to host gardening and cooking classes and store more goods on site.”
  • May 13, 2016 — Developer plans restaurant space at former Koonse Glass building, Columbia Tribune. Summary: John Ott plans to turn the building at 300 N. Tenth St., formerly occupied by Koonse Glass into a building with a cafe, art gallery or retail space.

 

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.

The history behind The Blue Note building

Yes, you’ve heard right: Richard King is selling The Blue Note at 17 N. Ninth St. But this former “movie palace,” won’t be going the way of other movie venues in downtown Columbia, Missouri. These two articles, “Richard King sells The Blue Note, Mojo’s,” and “Richard King passes torch, sells The Blue Note, Mojo’s.

The live music venue is being purchased by Matt Gerding and Scott Leslie, who will maintain its purpose and vibe.

Important for more than the most recent 34 years of great music, The Blue Note is part of downtown theatre history. Don’t let anyone tell you the building started out as vaudeville theatre. Built in 1927 by Tom C. Hall, it was once The Varsity Theatre and it showed movies from then until the 1960s, according to this National Register of Historic Places document on the North Ninth Street Historic District (Downtown Columbia, Missouri MPS) (map [see note]), 5-36 North Ninth St., Columbia (1/21/04).

This report refers to the building as one of the largest and newest buildings in that district. It was built at a cost of $100,000, or $1.3 million in today’s purchasing power, according to Measuring Worth, a website that gives comparative, historic values. It was designed by Boller Brothers of Kansas City, according to Debbie Sheals, author of the NRHP document. She notes it was the third movie theatre on that block and the second on that exact spot. The Star occupied that space previously and was also owned by Hall and it either burned or was razed.

But The Star isn’t the only theatre missing from downtown Columbia. By 1930, Ninth Street offered 3,591 theatre seats in a city of roughly 15,000. In 2010, Columbia had 4,227 seats for a population of roughly 100,000. Prior to television and now Netflix, people went to the movies much more often, according to this 2010 article, “Capturing Columbia’s Cinema Century,” in the Columbia Business Times.

Here is a list of some of Columbia’s missing theatres:

Haden Opera House: 1884-1901, destroyed by fire. Showed the first film in Columbia in 1897.

Airdome at Tenth & Walnut.

Columbia Theatre at 1103 E. Broadway. The interior was destroyed by fire and the first floor remains as a law office.

The Uptown on Broadway is now a retail space.

The Elite at 13 N. Ninth St.

The M Theatre at 8-10 N. Ninth St.

The Columbia Broadway Drive-In Theatre, where Gerbes is on Broadway now.

The Biscayne III on Stadium, where the Shoppes at Stadium are now.

The Columbia Mall 4, close to where Barnes & Noble is now.