Black History, Cemeteries, CoMo200, Events, Get involved, Historic Hours, Historic Preservation Commission, News Roundup, Sacred Spaces, Women

Events: Park meeting, preservation, DNA, birthday party and cemetery gets lively

Get out the slow cooker and shuffle your take-out menus, you’re going to be busy this month!

  • 7 p.m. Monday, May 6, 2019 — Columbia City Council is meeting and the expansion of Flat Branch Park is up for discussion. The meeting will be held in Council Chambers at 701 E. Broadway. How’s history connected here? The park expansion is part of plans to celebrate Columbia’s bicentennial in 2021, and park construction is set to start next year. At the heart of the matter is more parking for the commercial building at Providence and Broadway owned by Mark Stevenson. The building is the former Ice House, which has been at the heart of a building controversy before. The building has been saved, but now the question is how much parking where. Tonight’s meeting will cover the four different options highlighted in this article, “Parking spaces at center of debate in Flat Branch Park expansion project,” published in the Columbia Missourian on May 5, 2019.
  • 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, 2018DNA for Genealogists, a program featuring international genealogy consultant Kathleen Brandt will be held at the Columbia Public Library. Free and open to the public, the event announcement states Brandt will help people unscramble DNA which test might be right for you and help people look for their ancestry including Native American or Jewish ancestry.
  • 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, 2019Historic Preservation Commission meeting. in Conference Room 1C at City Hall. This group helps guide the city’s preservation efforts. It meets monthly and topics on this month’s agenda include demolition permits, a follow up on 917, 919 W. Broadway and 14 N. West Blvd., and plans for a window workshop. This meeting is open to the public.
  • 5-8 p.m. Saturday, May 18155th Birthday Party for John William “Blind” Boone in the historic Boone house at 10 N. Fourth St. The free event will include food and music and an opportunity to see the stunning restoration of this Victorian home.
  • 1-4 p.m. Monday, May 27, 2019History Comes Alive. This free, family friendly event is in its third year. Held at the Columbia Cemetery, the event features actors portraying well-known Columbians. This year’s roster includes agricultural entrepreneur Henry Kirklin, architect Mary Louise Hale Lafon, suffragist Helen Guthrie, businessman Jefferson Garth, educator and legislator David H. Hickman and entrepreneur Frederick Niedermeyer. This event is sponsored by Friends of the Historic Columbia Cemetery, a nonprofit.


demolition, Historical Homes, Notable Properties List, Stephens College

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.

Apartments, Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, demolition, Events

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 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

Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, Events, Notable Properties List

Seven reasons to skip this event marking historic places in Columbia, Missouri

You may want to skip this free event set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at Columbia’s historic Daniel Boone Lobby at 701 E. Broadway.

Below I list seven reasons not to attend this reception and presentation marking the honoring of five Columbia properties as Notable Properties by the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission. Since 1998, the HPC has been honoring historic properties to highlight their historic importance, sometimes as an attempt to save the building or location from being lost. This year, the five properties being honored are: Fairview United Methodist Church, Fairview Cemetery, Lee School, Francis Pike House and the Bessie and Dr. J.E. Thornton House.

In case you ignore these seven reasons not to attend, organizers are requesting those planning to attend to RSVP by Monday.The reception begins at 6:30pm in the lobby of the Historic Daniel Boone Building, 701 E. Broadway. The recognition program will begin at 7 pm. RSVPS are appreciated.

And if you are planning on going, I’d love to hear from you. Have you attended past events? Why are such events a draw for you — or why have you skipped in the past or are planning on giving it a no-go this year?

1. The event is a free celebration of Columbia’s history. Founded in 1821, Columbia’s Notable Properties include houses from 1827 to 1959, highlighting the city’s history from its pre-Civil War agricultural days to recent history with its economy based on medical care, insurance and education, industries said to give the city a near-recession proof economy. Properties named to the Notable Properties List have included churches, commercial buildings, even a mule barn. The requirements are that the buildings must be older than 50 years old and highlight a historic event, person or place. The designation does not include any restriction on future development or use.

Knowing the city’s history, however, gives people a greater appreciation of our past and hence our present. It creates connections where once none existed. For example, Lee Elementary School, honored this year, demonstrates a connection to the Civil War and the country’s Great Depression and federal efforts to help us dig out of that financial abyss.

So who wants to know that kind of positive history? If you do, like I do, then attend the event.

2. The event offers a free celebration with food catered by Bleu Restaurant and Wine Bar, a downtown location that consistently gets high rankings at TripAdvisor. The restaurant is ranked 37th in Columbia, Missouri attractions, so Tuesday night will give you an opportunity to try the food for free. Who wants that — well, anyone who enjoys good food I suppose. I’ll be there enjoying the Bleu offerings.

3. Lee Elementary School at 1208 Locust St., will be added to the list of Notable Properties. The school educates about 300 children in grades K through 5. It’s a school with an emphasis on arts today, and the history of the building began in 1904 when it was named after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. In the 1930s, Columbia was growing and Lee school was crowded. But the country was just coming out of the Great Depression, a time period with a 25-percent unemployment rate. The federal government put in place many programs to help stimulate the economy included building projects.  According to a Columbia Daily Tribune article published Feb. 3, 2014, “Lee Elementary amount sites honored as Notable Properties,” there were 15 such New Deal building projects in Columbia and “12 of those projects were for Columbia Public Schools or the University of Missouri.” Tuesday’s event will likely feature representatives of Lee accepting the award. But who wants to remember a time our country overcame economic adversity and get to meet some local educators teaching our children? Those who do, can attend the gala marking Lee’s entry to the Notable Properties List. I’ll be there in hopes of hearing from the educators about their school.

4. Fairview United Methodist Church at 1320 S. Fairview Road will be inducted into the Notable Properties List, but it isn’t a church anymore. One of the best ways to save history is to put the building to work. When Fairview United Methodist Church outgrew this small building, it went on to become the Countryside Nursery School, according to a Jan. 31, 2014 Columbia Missourian article, “Lost history: Fairview Cemetery reflects buried history.” The school has gone on to educate more than 3,000 students since 1979, the article notes. So why would you be interested in a building being reused and remaining a vibrant part of our community? If you are, see you at Tuesday’s event.

5. Fairview Cemetery, next to the former Fairview United Methodist Church, is remarkable for two reasons: it marks a cemetery cared for by family members links it to a cemetery that was lost to time, The Grant Cemetery. Robert Eugene Grant cares for the Fairview Cemetery with his nephew Gary Wayne Grant and his niece Patsy Watt, president of Fairview Cemetery Association. But his distant relatives were buried in Grant Cemetery. Somewhere along Bourn Avenue and Rollins and Stadium, the cemetery was the center of a controversy between the Grant family and a developer that bought the land. The headstones went missing and the development went ahead. As David Sapp, a local historian, is quoted in the newspaper article as noting at that time a lot of family cemeteries were destroyed because there were not laws in place. So why would you want to mark a place where Columbia’s ancestors reside and acknowledge improved respect for such landmarks? Those who do, could attend Tuesday evening’s event.

6. Francis Pike House at 1502 Anthony St. and the Bessie and Dr. J.E. Thornton House at 905 S. Providence. The Anthony Street home was built with Ozark rock and is a rare example of local native stone use, the Columbia Missourian article notes. The Thornton house marks the life of physician Dr. J.E. Thornton who didn’t live long enough to reside in the home he was having built. The house marks his life while highlighting our fragility. The Historic Preservation Commission events typically include presentations about the history of the homes, so who wants to learn more about an area, Providence Road, where street expansion and the destructions of homes has been in the news? If you do, mark Tuesday evening on your calendar.

7. The worst reason to go to the event is to learn to appreciate Columbia and the community. There will be a crowd of people who know about our history and how we grew from a tiny town of a few settlers to a city of more than 100,000, how we went from being a farming community, to a city with problems, yes, but one with three institutions of higher education, a lively downtown (come early to find parking) and employment opportunities in a wide range of industries.

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.

But maybe these Notable Properties don’t interest you. Or they do and you aren’t attending this event. Why are you missing the event? What properties would you like to see highlighted? What would make you turn out and what makes you interested — or avoid — Columbia history? I’d like to hear from you.



Commercial Buildings, Historical Homes

2013 Most Notable Properties Highlights

In case you missed it, here are links to coverage of the February 2013 announcement of six historic sites named to the Columbia Most Notable Properties List by the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission.

Qualifications for being named to the list include the property being older than 50 years, within Columbia’s city limits and highlights the historical or architectural influences in Columbia. To learn more about the Most Notable Properties criteria, check out this publication by the city.

The 2013 properties are as follows:

920 Cherry St. — Niedermeyer Apartments, circa 1837, with additions in 1902.

110 S. Ninth St. — Booche’s, circa 1925.

511 E. Rollins St., Pi Beta Phi Missouri Alpha Chapter House, 1930.

1411 Anthony St. – Arthur and Susie Buchroeder House, circa 1906. Dutch Colonial revival-style

703 Ingleside Drive, W.J. and Clara Lhamon House, 1926.

916 W. Stewart Road — Claude and Stella Woolsey House, circa 1930.

To read more about the properties, here are links to media coverage of the properties.

Feb. 5, 2013 — Columbia’s 2013 Most Notable Properties. Six properties, including a business rather than a property per se, were named to the Columbia Most Notable Properties list. Columbia Missourian article.

Feb. 5, 2013 — Commission to honor city’s notable properties: Six buildings to be recognized. Columbia Daily Tribune article.

Resources - Reports

Money matters: Meeting on benefits of historic preservation

A billion, with a B. That’s how much historic preservation in Missouri contributes to the state’s gross state product  according to a 2002 by the Center for Urban Policy Research, Rutgers University.

Now, the city of Columbia is inviting the public to look over a study designed to tabulate how much local historic preservation benefits the city’s economy.

At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission will hold a public meeting about a study on the economic impact of historic preservation in Columbia, Missouri. The draft executive summary is available online here.

The meeting will be held in rooms 1A and 1B of City Hall at 701 E. Broadway in Columbia.

The draft executive summary includes a table that indicates $79.94 million has been reinvested in historic properties in Columbia since 2002, helping to support an estimated 800 jobs in the city as a result.

This research is being conducted in partnership with a Historic Preservation Fund Grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Historic Preservation Office.

Here’s a link to a Columbia Tribune article on the upcoming meeting.

Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, Commercial, Commercial Buildings, Historical Homes, School

See the 2011 Historic Properties

Here’s a link to a PowerPoint with photographs of this year’s Most Notable Properties.

Each year, the City of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission names several properties to its Most Notable Properties List. The purpose of the list is to acknowledge Columbia’s outstanding historic features.

This year five properties were named to the list:

901 E. Broadway, Haden Building, 1921. Now the site of Commerce Bank, this building is on the site where the Haden Opera house once stood and dates back to 1921. The two previous buildings on this site burned down.

1602 Hinkson Ave., Joseph and Mary Duncan House, circa 1906. Built for retired farmer Joseph W. Duncan, it may have been built from mail-order plans, an idea suggested, the article notes, due to the “refined style and unusual combination of architectural styles…”

601 W. Broadway, A Fredendahl House, circa 1920s. Owned today by Mike and Jewell Keevins, according to the article, the house was built by A. Fredendahl, owner of Columbia’s first department store, which was located at 19-25 S. Ninth Street. The first floor of that building remains, while the upper floors were removed during the 1950s.

1615 Business Loop 70 W., Columbia Municipal Airport, 1970s. Now Cosmo Park, it was once site of a 110-acre farm of Moss Jones, which then became the location of the Allton Flying Service owned and operated by John and James Allton. They sold the site  to Columbia for a municipal airport around 1932. The city expanded the site and operated the 500-acre facility as an airport until the 1960s, the article notes, before opening the Columbia Regional Airport south of Columbia.

310 N. Providence Road, Douglass High School, 1917. Built to serve the city’s African-American population prior to the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling outlawing segregation, today, the school serves is an integrated high school. The full, complex history of the school can be found here.