Cemeteries, Columbia College, Events, Sacred Spaces, Stephens College, Tours, University of Missouri, Women

MU’s first female journalism graduate portrayed

The late Mary Paxton Keeley spoke from the beyond through an event sponsored by the Friends of the Historic Columbia Cemetery.

Keeley, MU’s first female journalism graduate, said through this interpretive event she was on the steps in 1909 when Walter Williams opened the doors to the what is reported to be the world’s first School of Journalism.

She described her work at the Kansas City Post, as well as her teaching journalism and creative writing at Christian College, now Columbia College, and how she once bicycled through the streets of Columbia before her death at 100.

Other famous Columbia residents portrayed and videos of the performances were posted on the Friends of the Historic Columbia Cemetery Facebook page.

Here are the names and links to the videos on YouTube:

Other portrayed were Victor Barth, Richard Henry Jesse and Robert Beverly Price

The scripts were written by Chris Campbell, executive director of the Boone County History and Culture Center. The event was sponsored by the Friends of the Historic Columbia Cemetery.

See the news coverage of the event for more information:

May 28, 2018 — Columbia Cemetery comes alive for Memorial Day, KOMU.com. Summary: Re-enactors at Columbia’s oldest cemetery portrayed historical figures buried there including James L. Stephens, Victor Barth, Richard Henry Jesse, Mary Paxton Keeley, John Lange Sr., Robert Beverly Price and Brig. Gen. Oden Guitar. The event was sponsored by the Friends of the Historic Columbia Cemetery.

May 28, 2018 — Columbia residents learn when History Comes Alive, Columbia Missourian. Summary: Hundreds attended the second annual History Comes Alive event at the Columbia Cemetery.

Black History, Events, Sacred Spaces

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.

lynching-marker09302016

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.

Notable Properties List, Sacred Spaces, Stephens College

New old images of Eero Saarinen’s Firestone Baars Chapel at Stephens College

image

Did you know there’s a bit of St. Louis in Columbia? The same designer, Eero Saarinen, who designed The Arch in St. Louis designed Stephens College’s Firestone Baars Chapel.

If you love before and after views, you are going to love this historic images released on June 17, 2016 by the State Historical Society of Missouri.

The seven images below are from the State Historical Society of Missouri’s Steinberg, Simon C. “Si” (1906-2002), Photograph Collection, 1938, 1950. (P0005) collection.

All seven images are from the May 22, 1950 groundbreaking.

The image above is a public domain image from Wikipedia.

Firestone Baars Chapel Groundbreaking

Firestone Baars Chapel Groundbreaking

Firestone Baars Chapel Groundbreaking

Firestone Baars Chapel Groundbreaking

Firestone Baars Chapel Groundbreaking

Firestone Baars Chapel Groundbreaking

Firestone Baars Chapel Groundbreaking

Background

Dedicated in 1957, Firestone-Baar Chapel at 1209 E. Walnut St. is a unique, nondenominational chapel. It was designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen, who also designed the Gateway Arch in St. Louis as well as other landmark buildings.

The chapel features a square plan and an entrance at each of the compass points. The Stephens College Campus Life-Student Handbook notes, “The chapel symbolizes commitment to individual spiritual development and worship. The chapel is used for meditation, religious services, vespers, weddings, memorials and campus programs.”

In 2002, the chapel was named to the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission’s Notable Properties Listing.

  • November 2013 — Columbia, The Beautiful by Morgan McCarty. Inside Columbia. Outlines the architectural finds in Columbia.

image

Black History, Churches, National Register of Historic Places, Sacred Spaces

Civil War to today reflected in Second Missionary Baptist Church

A historic building helps society recall its history, as demonstrated by this magazine article on the 150-year-history of Second Missionary Baptist Church, now at Fourth and Broadway.

Why say it is now at Fourth and Broadway? At one time, Fourth Street was called River Street for the Flat Branch waterway that now runs under Fourth Street, according to at National Register of Historic Places document that outlines the history of the adjacent J.W. “Blind” Boone home.

The article is headlined “Second Missionary Baptist Church reflects o 150 years of rich history,” and was written by Lauren Rutherford and published on April 7, 2016 in Vox magazine.

The piece explains the importance of the church: It housed and houses a community that has endured the insidious lasting harms of slavery and one that has also endured, fought and won many battles in the fight for civil rights. For example, the Rev. Clyde Ruffin helped spearhead an effort to place a tombstone at the grave of a man who was lynched in 1923. The church has been the staging ground of civil rights efforts as well.

This article demonstrates the purpose of historic buildings and how to save historic buildings. First, the purpose of historic buildings is so as a society, we are reminded of our history, good and bad. Second, saving a historic building requires that the building has a use.

Churches, Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, Commercial Buildings, Events, Historical Homes, Notable Properties List, Sacred Spaces, School, Schools

This is why you get lost in Columbia, Missouri

Bet you didn’t know that Chapel Hill Road used to be West Boulevard South. Which now makes sense of the fact that the rest of West Boulevard often has addresses such as 121 West Boulevard North.

This street name tidbit came out at the April 1, 2014 event honoring the 2014 Most Notable Properties named by the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission. Gaining one of these honors for a historic building 50 years or older was the Fairview Methodist Church. What? Can’t find the church? That’s because it’s now Countryside Nursery School. Which one of the presenters honored as Columbia’s longest operating day care. Except it isn’t a day care.

Have you come across other such “used to be” names in Columbia, Missouri? How did you find your way or uncover the reason behind the name? It’s this kind of thing that can make Columbia, Missouri so confusing.

At the event, Carol Notbohm, the former owner of Countryside Nursery School, talked about how when she moved here in the 1970s after retiring from teaching, the little church on the hill called to her. By then, it was vacant, after the congregation outgrew it and moved to a new church at 3200 Chapel Hill Road — with a website that calls it the Front Lawn Church. But the first church did give the new church’s location its name. Chapel Hill used to be the southern portion of West Boulevard until around the time the first Fairview Methodist Church was built. With the church in the location, it was renamed Chapel Hill for the church on the hill. And Fairview Methodist Church was named because an early church member commented that it looked so pretty on the top of the hill, according to a report by Deb Sheals, a historic preservation consultant cited in an article about the new Most Notable Properties.

It’s this kind of making sense of things that the Columbia Historic Homes website and history itself does. Have you might stumbled on a fact or information that helps make sense of Columbia? Let me hear from you about what you’ve discovered that keeps you from getting lost or confused.

What to read the entire article about the event on Tuesday, marking the five new Most Notable Properties? Here’s a summary and link to the article by Andrew Denney.

  • April 2, 2014 — Historic properties celebrated at 15th annual Most Notable event — Outlines a few facts for each of the five properties named to the Most Notable properties list by Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission. The properties are: Fairview United Methodist Church at 1320 S. Fairview Road., Fairview Cemetery at Chapel Hill and Fairview Road, Francis Pike House at 1502 Anthony St., Bess and Dr. J.E. Thornton House at 905 S. Providence Road. Columbia Tribune.
Churches, Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, Historical Homes, Notable Properties List, Sacred Spaces, Uncategorized

Party set for April 1 to celebrate historic properties

Columbia’s celebration of 2014’s additions to the Notable Properties is scheduled for 7 p.m. on April 1 in City Hall at 701 E. Broadway. The event was postponed from Feb. 4 due to a snow storm.

This year’s event will feature 15 years of images of the historic properties and introductions by Columbia’s Historic Preservation commissioners of the award winners.

The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are appreciated either via http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MN2014 or by calling Community Development Department at 573.874.7239.

So what made this year’s list? And while you’re looking at this 2014 list, ponder what buildings you’d like to see on the list. Nominations are typically taken in October – but you can make your recommendations below in comments now.

  • Lee Elementary School at 1208 Locust St. The 1934 school was built using federal New Deal funds. Such projects were funded in an effort during the Great Depression to put the unemployed to work building public projects, according to a Columbia Daily Tribune article published Feb. 3, 2014. Lee joins five other Columbia schools cited for historic buildings:  Ulysses S. Grant Elementary School, 10 E. Broadway (1911),  Frederick Douglass School, 310 N. Providence Road, (1917), Jefferson Junior High School, 713 Rogers, , and Thomas Hart Benton Elementary School (1927), and Field Elementary School, 1010 N. Rangeline, since closed.
  • Fairview Methodist Church, 1320 Fairview Road. Five other churches have been named to the Notable Properties list over the years.
  • The Fairview Cemetery, which abuts the church property. The cemetery has been family-maintained for more than 50 years, according to a Missourian Jan 31-Feb. 1, 2014 article. Another cemetery is on Columbia’s Notable Properties List.
  • The Francis Pike house at 1520 Anthony St.,
  • The Dr. James E. Thornton and Bessie Thornton house at 905 S. Providence Road.

The city has been naming properties to this list since 1998. Qualifying properties must be at least 50 years old, within the city limits and have architectural or historic features that contribute to the city’s social and/or aesthetic resources, according to the city announcement of the event.

Properties named to the list have ranged from brick streets to the Blue Note, from Stephens Stables to several of Columbia’s churches.

For more information or to see what other properties have been named to this list, see Columbia’s Most Notable Properties, go to this City of Columbia page.

So, what do you want to see on next year’s list? What historic property tickled your fancy this year?

Churches, Sacred Spaces

Tour Sacred Historic Spots

If you love historic homes, you probably love history of all kinds and what could be more historic than where we nurture our hearts and souls? That is why I’m posting about the Saturday tours on Oct. 12 and Oct. 19 of Columbia places of worship, offered by Columbia Faith and Values, a nonprofit news organization. For more information on the tours, see this posting on the FAV website.

The doors will open for the tours at 12:45 with the tours starting at 1 p.m. and ending by 3:30 p.m. Both tours begin at First Christian Church, 101 N. Tenth St.

The Oct. 12 tour will include First Christian Church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, First Presbyterian Church, Calvary Episcopal Church, Islamic Center of Central Missouri and Second Baptist Church.

The Oct. 19 tour will include First Christian Church, First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, Missouri United Methodist Church and Islamic Center of Central Missouri.

This is the second Columbia Faith and Values tour of downtown houses of worship, the FAV website notes. The cost is a $10 suggested donation. Last year the tour raised about $300 for the nonprofit news organization. To reserve your spot, email Kellie.Kotraba@ReligionNews.com or call 573.356.2200.

These tours will highlight places of worship. What kinds of tours would you like to see offered in Columbia to highlight historic sites?