The arts — and history — aren’t dead

Musician J.W. “Blind” Boone. Singer Jane Froman. Both of these artistic luminaries and seven other historical figures from Columbia’s past will come alive through four-minute monologues held during 1 to 4 p.m. on May 29 at their graves in Columbia Cemetery on Broadway.

This event was highlighted in this “Living History event planned for Memorial Day,” article by Rudi Keller, published May 13, 2017 in the Columbia Tribune.

The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Historic Columbia Cemetery, which also has a Facebook page. The monologues were written by Chris Campbell, executive director of the Boone County Historical Society.

So who else will you get to see come to life – with a consciousness of who they were, their current deceased status and today’s events?

  • Ann Hawkins Gentry, Columbia postmistress from 1838-1865.
  • George Swallow, Missouri’s first state geologist and MU faculty member
  • John Lathrop, president of MU twice.
  • Sgt. Wallace Lilly, a slave who enlisted in the Union Army in 1864 for his freedom.
  • Luella St. Clair Moss, Columbia College president from 1893 to 1920.
  • James S. Rollins, a man considered the father of MU.
  • Walter Williams, founder of the MU School of Journalism and MU president from 1931 to 1935.

Easy come, easy go?

It’s hard for me to imagine building a lake, but apparently it wasn’t for E.C. More.

This newspaper article outlines how E.C. (Elawson Carry) More built a lake in the late 1800s that today has been drained so the coal ash dumped in it can be removed and taken to the landfill. The lake is near Business Loop 70 East, Ashley and Bowling streets, and Lake Avenue.

The article includes a historic document outlining Columbia’s up and down efforts to create its own Municipal Power Plant and provide water and electricity to the city.

It will take about 13,000 dump truck loads to remove the ash, according to calculations made by Columbia Mayor Brian Treece, the article notes. This makes me wonder how More built the lake back when there were no dump trucks.

For now, here’s an article that provides history and context about a lake that once was and perhaps might be again.

April 25, 2017 —More’s Lake might return to its former glory after years of sitting filled with ash, Columbia Missourian. Summary: A lake once used for water to cool the power plant and then used as a place to dump ash from when the Columbia Municipal Power Plant burned coal has been drained. Due to environmental concerns and regulations, the ash will be removed and taken to the land fill. The lake was created in the late 1800s by Elawson Carry More. It was once used as community fishing and recreation area. Hopes were expressed that might be again. The piece includes this link to a historical document about Columbia’s power and water developments.

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.

 

Mysterious lack of fanfare: Sigma Nu fraternity house at 710 S. College Ave. demolished

Part of the mission of this website is to mark the history — and the destruction of history — in Columbia in terms of its buildings.

Mysteriously, there was little fanfare about the destruction of the 1915 Sigma Nu fraternity house at 710 S. College Ave. Here is a photo story published in the Columbia Missourian on June 28, 2016.

  • June 28, 2016 — Sigma Nu comes down, Columbia Missourian. Summary: The fraternity house at 710 S. College Ave. is demolished. A new fraternity house will replace it.

Like all demolitions, the plans for this started long before the bricks were smashed. This City of Columbia notice of May 23 and May 24, 2016 shows the city using the building as firefighter practice.

This July 2016 City of Columbia demolition report shows the building on the list. The city must issue a demolition permit, which is designed to ensure that utilities are turned off and any safety concerns have been addressed.

Here’s a video that shows what the new building will look like.

Here’s a link to the Sigma Nu’s website’s history page where you can see what the house that was at 710 S. College Ave.

 

Another view of history

During the student protests against racist event in the fall of 2015, some people shook their head and privately wondered — and even some publicly asked — why were students and residents were so angry, so willing to react and protest.

Perhaps one answer lies in Columbia’s history. This article published in the December 2016 issue of the Columbia Business Times shows a view of Stewart Bridge, now gone, replaced with a portion of Stewart Road. This bridge was the site in 1923 of the lynching of James Scott. For decades his death certificate said he was lynched for rape, although he never had had his day in court. It wasn’t until 2010, the article notes, that his death certificate was corrected to read that he died due to hanging by assailants.

You might be shaking your head — wasn’t that so long ago? Shouldn’t that be forgotten? And yet, my grandfather came to this country due to unrest in Europe in 1914. He never forgot and our family still talks about why he came here to escape the war and violence there. Of course, my family has the privilege and benefit of being able to talk about that war and violence, but how do people talk about lynching? The death of a man without a trial? Perhaps they don’t. And perhaps it’s time we do.

That’s why I’m thrilled to see the recent media coverage of this crime, this subversion of our country’s rule of law. It’s only when we as a society talk about what really happened can we heal. A page on this website lists seven different articles or series on the lynching, but I’m sure I’ve missed some. Are seven articles enough to expose the racism inherent in a crime like this? Have we as a city as a culture done enough to warrant the phrase never again? Does this help make sense of strong reactions against racism?

I don’t know, but I do know I appreciate the work of writers and photographers like Grace Vance who wrote and photographed this piece and the generosity of Brenna McDermott, editor of the Columbia Business Times, who gave me permission to reprint the article via the pdf posted.

December 2016 — Stewart Road/Stewart Bridge, Columbia Business Times. Summary:  This piece highlights the fact that a portion of Stewart Road was once Stewart Bridge, the site of Columbia’s last public lynching. Written and photographed by Grace Vance, the piece shows both the view of today and of the past. A pdf of the article is posted with permission from Brenna McDermott, editor of the CBT