Dangers of historical research

I started off my work day planning to post the news about the bed and breakfast at 606 S. College heading for closure in December, part of MU’s budget cutting efforts.

While this bed and breakfast is set to close, the East Campus Bed & Breakfast  opened recently. Here’s a link to its website.

When I started to research the now closed B&B, before I knew it, four hours had passed and I’d spent the time learning about the roots of Columbia, MU and the East Campus neighborhood. The work also yielded three government documents including this 1995 East Campus Neighborhood Historic District National Register of Historic Places document, this undated East Campus Survey city document,  and this 1994 document Final Report of A Survey of the East Campus Neighborhood, Columbia, Missouri, Phase One.

These documents are filled with photos, maps and the 1994 document includes some oral history. The oral history is interesting because it reveals people’s attitudes and opinions, some of which we’d find objectionable today.

Here’s the news on the closure in case you want to learn more, too, without the four-hour rabbit hole of research!

  • June 15, 2017 — The Gathering Place will close in December due to budget cuts at MU, Columbia Missourian. Summary: The bed and breakfast at 606 S. College will be closed by MU. It has been operating since 1996. It has been owned by the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources since 2008. The article states that MU expects to save $150,000 per year by closing the bed and breakfast, which was to have provided experience for MU hospitality students. The article cites the bed and breakfast’s website as stating that the house was built by Cora Davenport in 1906 and has been used as a fraternity house for Lambda Chi Alpha, Alpha Gamma Rho, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Sigma Tau Gamma.

You can make a difference

If you’ve ever felt discouraged about the demolition of Columbia’s historic structures, here’s a way you can get involved. The Columbia Historic Preservation Commission schedules work days to save parts of houses and structures before they’re demolished. Those items are then stored and later offered for sale.

Door and hardware from 121 S. Tenth St., March 1, 2016.

Solid wood doors and hardware saved prior to the demolition of the James Apartments, 121 S. Tenth St.

You can get involved saving these important parts of buildings before they’re lost.

Here’s a message from Pat Fowler, chair of the HPC:

Saturday, June 17, we are planning a salvage work day and a small scale salvage on a house soon to be demolished.  We need about 10 volunteers, in four-hour shifts, and a couple of pick-up trucks.  The city has set aside salvage from the Blind Boone home renovation and materials donated for our transport to our salvage barn in Rock Quarry Park.

One team will go to the little house and then join us to transport the Blind Boone salvage.

Part of our plan is to label the source of the Blind Boone Salvage and other items so that when we offer them for sale later this summer, we can convey to our purchasers as much information as we haveThe little house has some cool cabinets, some trim and we’d like to practice pulling some hardwood floor.

One of our new members on Historic Preservation, John Gagliardi, will be our team lead on the little house.

If you are interested, please send an email to fowlerpatj@gmail.com, or message us on the City of Columbia Historic Preservation Commission Facebook page, with your contact info.  We’ll send out specific start times, a suggested list of things to bring and be ready for your participation.

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.

 

History literally lights up what you see

Here’s another reason to visit Tallulahs Kitchen store at 812 E. Broadway, in addition to checking out the store’s amazing kitchen tools, gadgets and cookbooks.

Before you go in look up. Really. Above the store front are historic prismatic lenses which were once installed throughout the nation around the turn of the last century to maximize sunlight to supplement indoor lighting.

This article from Missouri Resource Fall 2011, reprinted here with permission, outlines the history of the prismatic lenses and notes how retailers would prefer better lighting and prismatic lenses offered just that.

So what? Who cares about lighting? Well, as a retailer or a consumer — or even an employee or employee — you just might want to consider lighting. This article by Jeffrey Kahn, published April 2009 on Facilitiesnet.com, notes that indirect lighting can make people less productive, the right kind of lighting can make customers linger or even enter an area and bright lighting should be provided to stave off lethargy and, in some cases, Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is connected with a lack of light.

These prismatic lenses also multiply light, so perhaps some day our energy saving efforts will turn our thoughts toward the past to lenses like those at 812 E. Broadway.

History is everywhere – if you know where to look!

 

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.

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.

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Danger of demolitions

Any DIYer or carpenter can tell you the importance of the adage measure twice, cut once. That applies to demolitions, too.

In 2013, several buildings were demolished, including a 1905 historic home, to make way for the Hagan Scholarship Academy, a residential college preparatory school for rural students. Three years later, despite the worthy plan, there is only a vacant lot — and the irrevocable loss of several historic buildings.

It may stay that way for a while. In this May 23, 2016 article, Construction of Hagan school in central Columbia delayed for second time” Mark Farnen, a spokesperson for Dan Hagan, who is the behind the foundation which is funding the project, said the building is “still in the design stages.”

What happened

In 2013, an article in the Columbia Daily Tribune proclaimed, “Old Stephens buildings to make way for academy soon.” Perhaps the problem was with the word “soon.”

The buildings destroyed included the1905 Altis/Chandler House at 1404 E. Broadway, a loss noted in this 2013 city of Columbia report decrying the loss of historic properties in our recent frenzy of destruction. This picture shows it was no beauty prior to its destruction and was in need of renovation.

1404 E. Broadway, Altis/Chandler Home prior to the 2013 demolition. Named to Columbia's Notable Properties list in 2007. Image credit: FitzImages Photography/City of Columbia Historic Preservation Commission.

1404 E. Broadway, Altis/Chandler Home prior to the 2013 demolition. Named to Columbia’s Notable Properties list in 2007. Image credit: FitzImages Photography/City of Columbia Historic Preservation Commission.

 

To make way for the Hagan Scholarship Academy, Stephens College lost an auditorium, a 1948, 2,300-seat auditorium, not that the college seemed to regret it. A Dec. 11, 2012 article in the Columbia Missourian, “Students, officials at Stephens College react to property sales,” quotes the college’s marketing manager Rebecca Kline as saying the building wouldn’t be missed.

Yet, in the same article, a Stephens student, Kirsten Izzett called the building the “old Jesse,” referring to the University of Missouri’s Jesse Hall, an anchor of the university’s historic quad. This July 1, 2013 article in the Columbia Missourian noted the building had not been used in 20 years.

Hillcrest Hall, another building demolished, the article notes, was used as a residence hall since it was built in 1965.

Loss or progress?

I can’t denigrate Stephens College for selling the buildings to fund other projects.

I do take umbrage against  society’s country’s inability to reimagine buildings. While traveling in the United Kingdom in 2015, I saw churches turned into restaurants, bed and breakfasts, taverns and bookstores. In Europe, I know of a family who visits their old ancestor’s home in Germany which now includes the family’s old barn. I’ve seen pictures and you can’t tell it’s a house/barn combination.

In Columbia, we’re familiar with reusing buildings. At Columbia College, for example, Williams Hall in 1848 was the home of Dr. James H. Bennett, a leading Columbia physician, according to information provided by Columbia College as a part of the nomination process for the city’s Notable Properties list. “Williams Hall is the oldest college building in continuous use for educational purposes west of the Mississippi River,” according to the Columbia College Web site.

Perhaps when we finally see the true cost of demolition including the cost of filling up our landfill with building rubble and the loss of soul when an old building is gone, we as a society will choose differently.

For now, there’s a large vacant area on Broadway that we can only hope will someday house hopeful students on their way to college where I hope they’ll learn a better way to use our resources rather than rip down and dispose of buildings rather than reuse them.