See an Eero Saarinen in Columbia, Missouri

Don’t get in the car! I mean it! No need to drive six hours to see an Eero Saarinen designed building or even two hours to see one.

While I’m embarrassed to admit I just got around to reading the Winter 2016 edition of Preservation magazine, I was rewarded for this tardy reading by finding an article about a gem of a house designed by Eero Saarinen. What? Who’s Eero Saarinen and what does he have to do with historic sites in Columbia, Missouri?

Eero Saarinen was the designer of the St. Louis Arch — and the Firestone-Baars Chapel on the campus of Stephens College right here in Columbia, Missouri. So you can drive two hours to see his work or walk over to Stephens College.

The college is the site for the Unbound Book Festival which will be held April 19-21, 2018. The chapel has been used for various activities at the Unbound Book Festival in the past.

Just gotta get in the car? OK, OK, here’s the scoop on another Eero Saarinen-designed building that’s a six-hour drive from Columbia, Missouri. The Miller House was a collaboration of architect Eero Saarinen, “interior designer Alexander Girard, and landscape architect Dan Kiley,” according to the Preservation magazine article. Take a peek to see if you can find a resemblance.


503 Westwood Avenue

So what’s a historic home? Does a 1950 home in a historic neighborhood count? I’d say so. When I saw that the house at 503 Westwood Ave. was up for sale, I knew I had to take a peek. Here’s your chance to do the same via the House of Broker’s site.

Note, I don’t usually focus on buildings that aren’t on either the Columbia, Missouri Notable Properties list or the National Register of Historic Places, but this is a gem and if I wasn’t adverse to packing up my life, I’d move there in a minute.

Enjoy taking a peek at a historic home!

Favorite historic building fireplace?

This Saving Places blog post highlights photographs and information from six famous fireplaces from the nonprofit’s Preservation magazine.

Sadly, not one of them is from our part of the country, Missouri, also known as the fly-over zone.

But I’m betting people in Columbia, Missouri have their own favorite fireplaces from historic buildings. I’d love to see them and I’m sure all of us in these chilly days would love to see any warm you can provide!

Get your Pinterest on – salvage sale in November

Start perusing Pinterest now! Nov. 4 and 5, 2017 are tentative dates set for a salvage sale of items snagged from buildings before they were demolished.

The event is being planned by the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission according to this Oct. 5, 2017, Columbia Missourian article.

Items include cattle gates, rows of seats and reclaimed barn wood. So what can you do with cattle gates? This link to Pinterest shows everything from fencing to trellises to greenhouses and hoop gardens.

Rows of seats? This Pinterest link shows a great idea for your entryway.

Radiators will be plentiful. This link shows using two radiators to make a table. This might be great news for me since I still haven’t used the massive, solid wood door I bought at last year’s sale, the first held by the Historic Preservation Commission.

Last year’s sale drew a crowd and was named to this top 10 things to do for the weekend. It was held at the Rock Quarry Park, 2002 Grindstone Parkway

And if you aren’t a crafty person, well, you could even use these items offered for sale for cattle gates, seats or even radiators.

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, 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.


Twain did it, now you can do it. See the 1867 Italianate Chancellor’s Residence

But will cost you $15, which will go to a good cause. The Chancellor’s Residence at 501 N. Ninth St., is on the Women’s Symphony League Holiday Homes Tour set for 1-4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2, 3 and 4, 2016.

You can buy tickets at this website: Women’s Symphony League Holiday Homes Tour.

The Residence is one of five buildings on the tour, two at MU. The buildings are:

  • The home of Melissa and Josh Holyoak, 2709 Chapel Wood View
  • The home of Megan and Daniel Hoyt, 5307 E. Tayside Circle
  • Providence Point, University of Missouri President’s Residence, 1900 Providence Point
  • The Chancellor’s Residence, 501 S. Ninth St.,
  • Brouder Science Center, Columbia College, 705 Rangeline

Mark Twain dined in the residence in 1902 when he was on campus to receive an honorary degree, according to this MU document about the house. President Harry S Truman stayed there in 1950 and Eleanor Roosevelt stopped in for a rest there in 1959.

Now, the Foley family calls it home. But so does another resident, according to rumor and some accounts.

The house, documents recount, was finished in 1867, and is the oldest building on the campus of the oldest public university west of the Mississippi River.

In 1867, MU President Daniel Read moved in with his family and his wife Alice died there in 1874. This undated publication of the Columbia Missourian includes a video clip of Anne Deaton, wife of the former Chancellor Brady Deaton and a former resident of the Residence. She relates in the video an account of the grandfather clock that didn’t work chimed unexpectedly and the elevator would run without an occupant, incidents she attributes to Alice Read’s ghost.

The Residence, the article notes, is included in the recently book, “The Haunted Boonslick: Ghosts, Ghouls and Monsters of Missouri’s Heartland,” by Mary Barile.

Perhaps there are other hauntings. Until April 27, 2016, the Residence was occupied by R. Bowen Loftin, the chancellor who resigned the fall of 2015, ousted by student protests over what they called the university’s lack of response to racial incidents. His move out was covered and his sentiments highlighted in this June 27, 2016 Columbia Missourian article.

There have been other opportunities to take a peek at the resident of current Interim Chancellor Hank Foley and his wife Karin. They hosted an open house Sept. 24, 2016 with free admission.

But this weekend will give you a chance to see the Residence spruced up for the holidays and an opportunity to support music in Columbia. The proceeds from the holiday tour goes to the Women’s Symphony League, which supports the Missouri Symphony Society that brings a wide range of music to Columbia, Missouri.

It’s not as a nice a deal as Twain received with dining there and receiving an honorary degree, but it is an opportunity to see a historic home at its finest.

And that’s a good deal.

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.