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.


Under your feet tour Saturday, Oct. 15

W.E. Edwards established the Edwards Brick & Tile Company in 1896 in Columbia, Missouri.

W.E. Edwards established the Edwards Brick & Tile Company in 1896 in Columbia, Missouri.

Love history? Love knowing about what other people miss? Here’s your chance to learn about history literally under your feet and to learn about something most people never think about — the building techniques and materials of brick streets.

A free tour is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, and will be conducted by Patrick Earney, a professional engineer and member of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission. The tour will start from the City Hall Key Sculpture at the corner of Eighth and Broadway, 701 E. Broadway.

See you there – wait? You can’t go? Here’s some information about the event and Columbia’s brick streets.

Tour information

Brick streets worth saving, Columbia Tribune, Dec. 1, 2012.

City of Columbia brick street background information, Oct. 21, 2015. Complete with a cool map!

From this site, a brief history, including some financial information and a bit about Columbia Brick and Tile, one of the eight brickworks Columbia, Missouri once boasted.

Finally – a blast from the past. This February 1994 report discusses the brick streets of the East Campus as an area where University of Missouri faculty once lived. The report includes historic maps. It’s a long download, even with a fast connection, but a great read.  A Final Report of Survey of the East Campus Neighborhood, Columbia, Missouri, Osmund Overby, Howard Marshall, Scott Myers, Debbie Sheals, Ray Brassieur.

Lynching: History finds a home

One of the reasons for this blog is to mark history, and historic homes are, in a way, a marker of history. But for a long time, there wasn’t a marker for a major historic event in Columbia, Missouri: the lynching of James Scott.


This article, reprinted with permission from George Kennedy and the Columbia Missourian, is about giving one man’s life and a lynching the historic marker in the real world and in our historic knowledge.

GEORGE KENNEDY: Repairing old wounds while another opens

Oct 6, 2016

Two events last week reminded Columbians how far we’ve come along the road of racial reconciliation and how far we still have to go.

The first was the ugly confrontation that began when a group of white MU students, apparently drunk, insulted two female members of the Legion of Black Collegians. It escalated when white fraternity members shouted obscenities at LBC members who had responded to a call for help from the women. Black students replied in kind.

MU police officers arrived, separated the angry groups and made no arrests. The university suspended the Delta Upsilon fraternity while at least two campus offices investigate.

News coverage beyond Columbia included references to the turmoil of last fall and ongoing efforts to improve the University’s racial climate.

Two days later, I stood with 100 or so onlookers beside the MKT Trail at Providence and Stewart Roads to witness the unveiling of a marker that commemorates the 1923 lynching of James T. Scott.

The new plaque reads, “Lest We Forget: Lynching at the Stewart Road Bridge.”

We must not forget, among other things, the roles played by journalists, students and community leaders.

Mr. Scott was a 35-year-old decorated veteran of World War I, a janitor at the university and husband of one of Columbia’s 15 black teachers. He was a member of the Second Baptist Church.

In April 1923, he was accused of raping the 14-year-old daughter of a University professor, arrested and jailed. She identified him as her assailant, but there was no evidence to support that. Later, she would identify a different man.

Patrick J. Huber wrote in the Summer 1991 issue of the Missouri Historical Society magazine, “Columbia’s most influential paper, the Daily Tribune, provided the spark that ignited the town’s smoldering outrage.” He quoted Tribune editor Edward Watson as pointing out that three black men were currently in jail accused of separate rapes and urging, “This trio should feel the ‘halter draw’ in vindication of the law.”

Huber continued, “Less than eight hours after the newspaper hit the street, white Columbia residents responded to the Tribune’s plea for justice.”

A mob estimated at about 2,000, including 200 or so students, stormed the jail, dragged out Mr. Scott and led him, with a rope around his neck, to what was then the bridge carrying Stewart Road over the Flat Branch.

A prominent citizen, later identified in court by two MU journalism students who were present at the lynching — one reporting for the Kansas City Star and one for the St. Louis Post Dispatch — put a longer rope around Mr. Scott’s neck and threw him off the bridge. His neck was broken and he died.

The New York Times published a front-page story with the headline, “Missouri Students See Negro Lynching, Co-Eds Join Crowd Which Cheers the Storming of the Columbia Jail.”

Huber recounts that the newspaper published by the School of Journalism, then called the Columbia Evening Missourian, “took a determined stand against mob violence.” In an editorial two days after the lynching, the Missourian wrote, “The lynching cannot be undone, but Columbia can, in part, clear its name if speedy action against those who committed the crime is taken.”

Only the man identified by the students as the killer was tried. A jury including several prominent citizens needed just 11 minutes to find him not guilty.

The plaque of remembrance was sponsored by the Association of Black Graduate and Professional Students, which of course didn’t exist in 1923. That in itself was a sign of progress.

So was the pairing of Clyde Ruffin, now pastor of James Scott’s church and First Ward representative on our City Council, and Mayor Brian Treece, both of whom spoke about the importance of remembering our past and learning from it.

I hoped the fraternity members were listening.

Grand opening of historic home of $19.5 million musician set for Sept. 18

The dedication of the home of a musician who traveled from 1880-1913 performing about 7,200 concerts is set for 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 10 N. Fourth St.

The musician earned about $19.5 million dollars in his lifetime, an amount calculated using information in the National Register of Historic Places document on the house and MeasuringWorth.com, a website designed to calculate value of currency.

The musician was J.W. “Blind” Boone and his story can be viewed from multiple perspectives. He overcame racism, poverty and even trickery to become a successful musician.

Even his home was nearly lost. And now, on Sunday, after years of work from volunteers and city expenditures, will be dedicated and opened to the public.

Note on the calculations: Information in the National Register of Historic Places document states he earned $150 to $600 per concert and performed about 7,200 concerts. Using $150 per concert for 7,200 concerts, his earning would have been $1.1 million. Using MeasuringWorth.com, a website designed to calculate value of currency, that amount would be worth $19.5 million in 2015.

News Release:

The City of Columbia has issued a press release on the event and it is reprinted here with permission:

Contact: Clyde Ruffin

President, John William “Blind” Boone Heritage Foundation


Dedication, grand opening of J.W. “Blind” Boone Home scheduled Sept. 18

COLUMBIA, MO (September 15, 2016) – On Sunday, Sept. 18 the John William “Blind” Boone Heritage Foundation will host the dedication and grand opening of the newly restored J.W. “Blind” Boone Home. The event will be held at the home, 10 N. Fourth St., from 2 to 4 p.m. with light refreshments provided after the program.

John William “Blind” Boone, born in 1864, overcame blindness, poverty, and discrimination to become a nationally famous concert pianist and composer. Boone helped to merge African-American folk music with the European classical tradition, a fusion that opened the way for ragtime, jazz, boogie-woogie and much more.

“Even before the Great Scott Joplin, Boone was busy evolving the first true ‘made in America’ genre of music: Ragtime! It became America’s gift to the world,” said Lucille Salerno, emeritus board member of the Foundation and organizer of the former Blind Boone Jazz Festival.

The home was built between 1888-1892 by John Lange Jr. as wedding present for his sister Eugenia Lange and Boone. It serves as a monument to the individual genius and generosity of Boone but it also represents the historic African-American community as a whole — its struggles and accomplishments. The home’s location on Fourth Street is one of the few physical remnants of the community African-Americans built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“The effort to preserve Boone’s home is important, in part, because it is one of the few surviving reminders of the days when Fourth Street was the heart of Columbia’s African-American neighborhood,” said Greg Olson, a member of the Foundation. “At a time when the city, like much of the nation, was deeply segregated, Blind Boone was that rare individual who seemed to have the ability to bring together Columbia citizens of all races.”

The home was purchased by the City of Columbia in 2000 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Renovations to the home included interior restoration, minor exterior repairs and landscaping. The project was approved by City Council on June 3, 2013 and the City portion was paid for with surplus funds from fiscal year 2012. The estimated cost for the City was $326,855 with a $16,500 donation from the John William “Blind” Boone Heritage Foundation.

The Foundation was organized in 1997; for more information, visit this link: http://blindboonehome.com/.

Reincarnation, historic homes and a free festival

Did you ever notice that anyone who talks about a past life was always a princess or a pharaoh? Yeah, me too.

But I’m firmly convinced that if I did have a past life it was lived as a common laborer or simple farm wife. That’s why I’ll be in the Ryland House as a volunteer at this weekend’s free Heritage Festival.

The Heritage Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17 and 18 at Historic Nifong Park, 3700 Ponderosa St. This free event will include demonstrations, dancing, crafts and … yes! Tours of the buildings at the Village at Boone Junction, a sweet little collection of Boone County historic buildings including the Ryland House.

The Ryland House was built around 1880 and moved to the Junction in 2005. It’s a small place, about 800 square feet and was originally owned by a well off farm family, William and Maggie Ryland. They farmed about 358 acres near Sturgeon.

The tour of the house won’t last long — it’s only three rooms. Yes, despite the fact that the family that owned this house had a nice sized, well-run farm, their house consisted of three rooms, a large kitchen, a bedroom, and a parlor used mainly when visitors came by.

I won’t be in the parlor during my time volunteering in the Ryland House. I’ll be in the kitchen, where I’m sure my ancestors and any former incarnations of myself would have been. And you can come visit me there, too, on Sunday morning.

But what if you were a princess or someone wealthy in a past life. No worries. You’ll be able to get a peek at the life of those better off in Boone County during a tour of the Maplewood House.

The fine two-story house was the home of Lavinia Lenoir and Dr. Frank G. Nifong. It was built by Miss Lavinia’s father, Slater Ensor Lenoir around 1877, and the nine-room house is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Maplewood, unlike the Ryland House, features a music room, a dining room, several bedrooms as well as a parlor, a kitchen and even a maid’s or sewing room.

So no matter what your inclination is about a past life, in the present you can straddle past and present at the Heritage Festival this weekend.


You can save history – or at least a piece of it

If you live in Columbia, Missouri, you’ve probably heard a 1903 former hotel is coming down. But you might not know that you can help save pieces of this historic building for salvage, even, perhaps for installation elsewhere downtown in the future. Here’s a look at what can be saved and how you can help.

Louvered doors in the former Winn Hotel, 1903, 121 S. Tenth St., Columbia, Missouri. Photo used with permission.

Louvered doors in the former Winn Hotel, 1903, 121 S. Tenth St., Columbia, Missouri. Photo used with permission.

In-wall tables in the former Winn Hotel, 1903, 121 S. Tenth St., Columbia, Missouri. Photo used with permission.

In-wall tables in the former Winn Hotel, 1903, 121 S. Tenth St., Columbia, Missouri. Photo used with permission.

Here’s a post from Pat Fowler, a member of Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, reprinted with permission:

“Thank you for agreeing to share this information with your students, circle of friends, family members and co-workers. At last look we had 29 of our slots filled, with 100 more to go. Some slots are 2 hours, some are 4 hours, all contribute measurably to the greater goal of saving what is unique and special about the James (formerly the Winn Hotel and the Tenth Street Elks Lodge). We welcome our volunteers signing up for more than one shift if their busy lives permit.

Send any questions via email to fowlerpatj@gmail.com or text 573-256-6841.

Our planning team: On site Rosie Gerding and I will share volunteer coordinator duties, one of us will be on premises for the duration to greet each of the volunteers, provide breakfast snacks, coffee, lunch food, beverages, get what ever is needed from what ever source, and make certain we have cleared your path, literally and figuratively, to get the work done as efficiently as possible. Dan Cullimore, Kelly Veach, Douglas Jones and Mark Wahrenbrock will lead teams in de-construction, door and hardware removal, fixture removal and a handful of us will assist Habitat’s ReStore with our appliance dollies in getting the 21 refrigerators, several of the stoves and a new, still in the box, water heater out the door and to their truck.

Though we can’t save the building, we can save many of the items that are uniquely the James. I’ve attached both our most recent flyer and a photo array of many though not all of the items we seek to remove safely for re-purposing. Please spread the word.

If you have a few hours to participate, please use our sign up tool; we look forward to greeting you inside the front door of the James.


573-256-6841 (text and voice)

P.S. I’m to visit with Simon and Renee on KFRU’s Morning Meeting on Friday, 10:00 ish. Tune in. A press release is in the works, watch the local coverage on Thursday wink emoticon

Things that go bump in the day and the night

Interested in what you can’t see? That’s what you’ll learn about at these free downtown historic walking tours, with the first one slated for July 31, 2014. Given by members of the Historic Preservation Commission of the City of Columbia, the tours will focus on what you can — and can’t see.

All four of the upcoming tours start at 7:30 p.m. at the “Key” at City Hall at Broadway and Eighth Street. The first tour will cover Columbia’s brick streets, but not the part you can see. The other walks include an August 14 walk to view Columbia’s historic hotels and theatres, the Sept. 18 event will cover downtown worship centers and Oct. 30, the last walk, will take a look at places where ghosts and other scary tales lurk.

For the walk on Thursday, Patrick Earney, HPC member and project engineer at Trabue, Hansen & Hinshaw, Inc., will discuss the engineering under and around the brick streets of Columbia, Missouri.

What? Who cares? You should. Many of these streets are more than 100 years old and while they’ve lasted, those dips and ridges that make your car go bump in the day and the night when you drive on them are due in some cases to the poor foundation under the bricks.

As Earney noted in an email, “The take away for the average person is that a street laid 110 years ago is still viable and would still be performing well had they been maintained.”

There’s another value said Earney, one that not every one would recognize at first glance or first drive.

“Each brick was touched by at least two people — he who made it and he who installed it. They’re not all the same, and the rows aren’t exactly straight. There’s a human element to a brick street that another street pavement doesn’t possess,” Earney wrote in a recent email.

In this day and age of disposable, manufactured items, a hand-made, crafted item can hold value for those who see it.

Wonder where those brick streets are? Here’s a map that shows where they are exposed and hidden.

Map showing brick streets, covered and uncovered and the core area of concern. Historic Preservation Commission map used with permission.

Map showing brick streets, covered and uncovered and the core area of concern. Historic Preservation Commission map used with permission.

Are those bricks or bucks under your feet?

Just as important, these brick streets may end up costing — or saving — you money some day. Proponents of brick streets cite the fact that they last. Remember the part above that mentioned some of them are more than 100 years old? Advocates for spiffing up and even uncovering some of the brick streets say the reason they were covered during the 1960s and 1970s is because they weren’t maintained. They also point out that asphalt streets must be repaved every 15 or so years, making the apparent savings of covering brick streets instead of repairing them a false frugality over time.

On the other hand, some people point to the cost of repairing the brick streets, pointing out that when the brick street were laid, labor costs were a fraction of today’s costs. Repaving using bricks calls for craftsmen and craftswomen, not just rollers.

Like it or lump it, on March 17, 2014, the City Council passed a Brick Streets Policy Resolution PR 229-13 that says the city will not remove covered or exposed brick pavement within a “Core Brick Street Zone,” and may be given a budget to uncover some brick streets over the next 20 years, “after a successful demonstration project.”

Brick streets good or bad?

What? Not a fan of brick streets. Well, you are not alone. Some folks decry the bumpy ride they provide, while others point to that same rumbling road as a good thing. A city document cited a case study of Winter Park, Florida that showed traffic fell on one of the main brick streets by nearly one-third from 8,500 to 6,000 cars ,with the average speed taking a nosedive from 41 mph to 29 mph after a 1996 brick street restoration. That’s called traffic calming and it can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your perspective.

Others complain that spending money fixing or uncovering brick streets is a waste just for the sense of place and historic ambiance. That view is countered, of course, by those who say brick streets can save money in repaving costs.

But whether you are for or against brick streets, here’s a chance to learn more for free and find out why you might want to care about the part of the brick street you can’t see.