Black History, Events

A historic note on #MeToo

The recent news about Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood’s outrage about his sexual assaults shows news affects people even when it happens far away.

In 1855, 26 miles from Columbia, Missouri, a slave woman was hanged after she killed her white owner who had been raping her for years. The headline merely says a Missouri woman but in reality, it was a woman with a name, Celia, a woman who lived about 26 miles from where I live.

This account states puts the first rape even closer, stating the first assault took place nine miles south of Fulton. That place the attack at about 14 miles from my home. Closer than all the assaults of Weinstein.

This Oct. 19, 2017, Washington Post article describes how Celia lost her life when she refused one more assault and killed her attacker. She was found guilty of killing the man who owned her by a jury of 12 white men.

I’m certain this news reached Columbia when it took place in 1855. The same way people certainly knew about the attacks of Weinstein and others of his ilk. And that’s why the #MeToo is so powerful. We are no longer alone. We are no longer powerless. And we are no longer going to be tried or silenced.

Finally, this is why and our history is so important. If we don’t know our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Let’s make #MeToo part of our past and not our present or future.


Historical Homes

Great opportunity to own a historic home and schoolhouse

Here are two great ways to get a peek inside a historic home and a historic school-house. At 10 a.m. Saturday, August 17 2013, this former one-room school at 4713 Brown Station Road, Columbia, will go up for auction.

Named the Keene School, the United Country’s website outlines its history as a former school-house and includes pictures for an online tour of the now three bedroom, 2 1/2 bath house.

The website states the house was built in 1898, and information provided by Deb Sheals, a historic preservation consultant, states the former school-house was used as a school from 1898 until the early 1900s.

The Old Houses website says the house is one of last remaining brick two-story school houses. Once planned to provide room for schooling on the first floor and housing for the school teacher on the second floor, the 1,660 square-foot home features 11 1/2 feet ceilings on the first floor.

The building was named to Columbia’s Notable Properties list in 2004.

The house was on the market in 2009, as well, according to this 2009 Columbia Missourian article.

Whether you’re in the market for a house or just interested in seeing history, the 10 a.m. Saturday auction at 4713 Brown Station Road is an opportunity.

Historical Homes, Uncategorized

June 9, 10, 11, 2013 festival features historic music of J.W. “Blind” Boone era

On June 9, 10, and 11, 2013, you’ll be able to hear history with the music from the era of J.W. “Blind” Boone, who lived at the historic home at 10 N. Fourth St., which is currently being considered for interior renovations.

The “Blind” Boone Early Jazz and Ragtime Festival tickets are on sale now and tickets can be purchased here. Performances are in the historic and recently renovated Missouri Theatre on Ninth Street in Columbia, Missouri. In addition to separate concert prices, there is a basic two-day pass for $100 and a three-day pass for $150, for four events and six events, respectively.

The concerts are a short walk from Boone’s historic home at 10 N. Fourth Street, which has had its exterior renovated, but awaits further improvements.

The concerts are sponsored by the J.W. “Blind” Boone Foundation. For more information, see

This year, the event includes The Launch as well as a Ragtime Bash, with proceeds from these two events slated to fund future “Blind” Boone Early Jazz and Ragtime Festivals.

Why is this concert series important? J.W. “Blind” Boone, the child of a run-away slave and U.S. Union bugler, lived from 1864-1927 and played and composed ragtime music, as well as classical music. Many say he was the first person to bring popular, ragtime tunes to the concert stage, and his motto, despite being blind and African-American during a trying time, was “Merit, not sympathy, wins.”

Here’s the schedule for the 2013 Blind Boone Ragtime & Early Jazz Festival.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

4 p.m. — The Launch, Silent Film – $5 (or free with a Ragtime Bash ticket). Silent Film with Dennis James at the Organ and Frederick Hodges at the Piano

6 p.m. The Ragtime Bash! – $50 (includes a ticket for The Launch, Silent Film)

Monday, June 10, 2013

4 p.m. — The Young Turks Concert- $23

7:30 p.m. — A Tribute to Johnny Maddox – $33

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

5:30 p.m. – Piano and Organ Extravaganza – $23

7:30 p.m. – Sweet and Hot Duets – $33


For more information, see, or call 573-882-3781.


Events, Missouri Preservation

Learn about historic preservation Sept. 18-20, 2013 in Boonville at the 2013 Missouri Preservation Conference

This year’s Missouri Preservation Conference will be held Sept. 18-20, 2013 in Boonville at the Isle of Capri Hotel and Conference Center.

This is a great opportunity for mid-Missouri, as last year’s conference was held further away, in St. Louis County.

A short distance from Columbia, the conference in Boonville will offer educational sessions, technical workshops, trade show exhibits,, tours and networking receptions, according to the Save the Date postcard from the Missouri Preservation, a nonprofit dedicated to education, advocacy and assistance to preserve Missouri’s history.

The announcement states rooms are limited at the convention locations, Historic Hotel Frederick, Isle of Capri Hotel and the Comfort Inn. For information on the event, contact Missouri Preservation at or call 660.882.5946.


Historical Homes

Changes to demolition permits pondered

With 2012 seeing the loss of the Annie Fisher house (circa 1920s) and several other older dwellings, the Columbia Planning and zoning Commission is considering changing the time period for demolition requests and the nomination process to historic preservation districts.

Read the Sept. 22, 2012 Columbia Tribune article, “Panel working on a new demolition, historic preservation rules.”

Historical Homes, Resources - Reports

$1 billion in economic activity generated by historic preservation

Tax credits, including tax credits for historic preservation, have come under fire from time to time.

However, a recent newspaper article on historic preservation states, “Preserving historic buildings over the past decade has, directly and indirectly, accounted for more than $1 billion in economic activity in Columbia and helped to create thousands of jobs…”

The Sept. 4, 2012 article in the Columbia Daily Tribune by Andrew Denney outlined the results of a report conducted by Developing Strategies, a St. Louis consulting firm.

The report is titled: Economic Impact of Historic Preservation in Columbia, Missouri. You can find it at:

The report was sponsored by the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, funded in part by the City of Columbia and a grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Historic Preservation Office.

So why do a study on the economic effect of historic preservation? Because it is hard to measure the importance and value of historic buildings. No one can measure the value of a masterpiece, and so measuring the economic activity generated by historic preservation provides one way to measure the value of Columbia’s buildings, masterpieces in a way.

The report includes a wealth of information and one of the most valuable bits of information is on page 45 — a listing of historic tax credit projects and the expenditures for the projects. Tax credits have come under fire, but people often fail to notice things of importance about such programs. First, money must be spent before a firm or individual can receive a tax credit. Second, in order to qualify for the tax credit, the person or firm must conduct the preservation to the set standards, standards that can be more expensive than simple renovations. Finally, it is a tax credit — that means the person or firm receives part of the taxes paid credited. It does not mean they receive money or funding, it is simply credit on taxes already paid. The company or person has to spend a great deal of money beyond the taxes credited.

The list notes that a total of $80 million was spent on various projects — and $15 million in tax credits were awarded. This means a company or person spent at least $80 million, while the state simply credited or forgave a portion of the firm’s or individual’s taxes for a total of $15 million. No money was given away, some taxes were simply credited.

Take a look at the report yourself and see what you think of tax credits for historic preservation.

You can also read the newspaper articles about it including two editorials, one of which is clearly against the use of tax credits.

Personally, I think historic preservation makes sense. The home of Annie Fisher, Columbia’s first black entrepreneur, was recently demolished and the land will likely be used for apartments. While the owners of the land have the right to do what they like with the land, the loss of the history is priceless. No where else can you point to a house and say that’s where a former slave built a catering company that drew people from throughout the county, where a woman with no education built a restaurant reputed to include place settings for more than 1,000, and a woman once owned by another person was honored at a state fair for the work of her hands, beaten biscuits. It’s hard to get inspiration from yet another apartment building.

And while many people will drive a long distance to see a historic building such as Mt. Vernon or Monticello, I’ve never once heard of anyone driving a long way to see a new apartment building.

Annie Fisher’s rise from obscure to entrepreneur might have seemed to some impossible; just as saving her home ultimately came to be, but perhaps tax credits can make the possible much more likely.

Historical Homes

See inside 704 Westmount the peanut brittle house

The home at 704 Westmount is up for sale, giving curious folks like me an opportunity to peek inside. Here‘s the House of Brokers’ virtual tour of the home, which is priced at $689,000.

So why does the headline mention peanut brittle? Three homes were built in 1907 in Columbia that carry that descriptive name for the outside surface of the house. Those homes are at 504, 608 and 704 Westmount Avenue were named to the Notable Properties List of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission in 2001.

An article written by Jim Muench in the February/March 2006 issue of Columbia Home & Lifestyle describes the home.

The article titled, “The Pebbled Pickett Home,” outlined the construction process of the home as well provides information on the owner 608 Westmount Avenue home and builder of the unusual threesome of houses with their distinctive look.

The exterior of the home was built by pouring concrete into a form over a layer of river rock and sand. The rock and pebbles were, the article notes, ” hauled up from local streambeds by wagons and mule teams.”

The builder of the homes, Curtis was a native of New England, the article notes. Curtis was a professor at the University of Missouri. Curtis was a professor of zoology and dean of the College of Arts and Science. Today, a building on the University of Missouri campus is named after him — it is not in the peanut brittle style. In 2010, the Curtis Building housed Agronomy, a Plant Sciences Unit and USDA Agriculture Research.