MOST ENDANGERED

MISSOURI’S MOST ENDANGERED HISTORIC PLACES ANNOUNCED MAY 20, 2014

 

Missouri Preservation announced its list of the State’s Most Endangered Historic Places for 2014 at a press conference held at the Henry Blosser House in Malta Bend (Saline County),  Missouri. The announcement was made at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20,  2014.

The list of Missouri’s Most Endangered Historic Places is announced annually during National Preservation Month to call attention to threatened historic resources in Missouri.  Nominations are solicited from citizens statewide and the properties chosen are considered endangered for a variety of reasons, including deterioration, neglect, encroachment, potential demolition or a combination of threats.  

The 2014 List of Missouri’s Most Endangered Historic Places (in no particular order) is as follows:

 

The Henry Blosser House, Malta Bend – Saline County

Lewis & Clark Branch Library, Moline Acres – St. Louis County

Houston House, Newburg – Phelps County

The Coleman House, Poplar Bluff – Butler County

University of Missouri Campus Properties – Bel Nor – St. Louis County

The Franz Schmidt Cabin – Cape Girardeau – Cape Girardeau County

The Henry Miller House, Bloomfield – Stoddard County

The Phillip Kaes House, Sherman – St. Louis County

The James Clemens House, City of Saint Louis

Greenwood Cemetery, Hillsdale – St. Louis County

The Route 66 Bridge – St. Louis County

 

The Henry Blosser House – Malta Bend, Saline County

Henry Blosser House Side

The Henry Blosser House was constructed c.1878, built by E. R. Page. The home was built for Henry Blosser, who had moved his family from Ross County, Ohio in November 1865. An enterprising and self-reliant farmer, Blosser was well known and respected and his farm known for its large livestock herd and prolific wheat production.  The Blosser name is well-recognized in Saline County. Blosser’s daughter-in-law, Georgia Brown Blosser, daughter of St. Louis broker and real estate tycoon Paul Brown, was both designer and financier of the construction of the Georgia Brown Blosser Home for the Aged and the Georgia Brown Blosser Home for Crippled Children on Eastwood Street in Marshall. Unusual in this rural area, the Henry Blosser house in Malta Bend is an elegant and substantial three-story brick Second Empire style home, with a signature mansard roof. It was designed by George Ingham Barnett, who was the architect for the current Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City. The house is currently vacant and vandalized, but not beyond repair. The current owners have indicated that they are willing to sell a small plot of land on which the house is located to a willing buyer interested in renovating the home. If a suitable owner cannot be found, the owner intends to demolish the building and return the land to agricultural use.

 

 

Lewis & Clark Branch Library – Moline Acres, St. Louis County

(photo: John Guenther)

Lewis & Clark John Gunther

The Lewis & Clark Branch Library, the only library building designed by architect Frederick Dunn, FAIA, was constructed in 1963. Once the pride of the County Library system, the building was fitted with stained glass windows by master artist Robert Harmon, and was constructed as part of a progressive mid-century building program which sought to re-envision libraries in the postwar era. Placed at the northern end of the library building’s main façade and echoed in smaller blocks of colored glassed embedded throughout the curtain wall and tiny hopper windows, Harmon’s design includes images of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the library’s namesakes, along with their Shoshone guide, Sacagawea and her baby, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. Flora and fauna including a buffalo in sprint are interwoven with abstract patterns to complete a stunning composition.   The building design is a very elegant response to functional requirements both in plan (a simple rectangle) and in elevation, with the brick walls extending upward to give a solid wall to display the perimeter book shelves and a clearstory window above providing ample daylight to the interior. These features make this building as fresh today as it was when it was first created and flexible to extend its life well into the future. The St. Louis County Library plans to demolish the Lewis & Clark Branch and replace it with a completely new structure. Our hope is that listing here will help persuade the Library Trustees to reconsider, adding a sensitive addition to meet the future needs of the Library’s patrons rather than demolishing this worthy mid-century St. Louis County Landmark.

 

 

The Houston House – Newburg, Phelps County

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Newburg, Missouri is first and foremost a railroad town. Founded by the St. Louis-San Francisco (Frisco) Railroad in 1883-84, the town served as the major refueling point between St. Louis and Springfield. The first structures to be erected at Newburg for the purposes of the railroad were the Frisco roundhouse and the “Railroad Hotel and Eating House,” known today as the Houston House. Both of these structures opened for business on 1 January 1884. Construction began on the white frame, three-story Colonial Revival Style hotel building in 1883 by William H. Harris, who had previously operated a hotel and restaurant in Dixon. Following the relocation of the Frisco’s division point to Newburg, he set out to establish a hotel and restaurant for the developing community, railway employees, and the passengers traveling along the Frisco Line. For three generations the building not only serviced the railroad clientele but also served as the Harris family home. After the death of William Harris, his daughter Martha Elizabeth “Matt” Houston took over the operations of the building. It is at this time that the building took the name associated with William Harris’s daughter. Despite the fact that other such establishments existed along First Street, the Houston House was widely renowned for its hospitality, food, and ambiance. Today the building is threatened by decades of flood damage, rising damp, and a fire that ravaged the third flood in the mid-1970s. Subsequent renovation efforts went unfinished in the 1990s, leaving some of the building’s outer walls to become cracked and exposed to the elements. In 2004 the Newburg Community Revitalization Program Group purchased the building. This group has since operated the Houston House as a weekly soup kitchen in an effort to raise funds to help with the building’s maintenance and upkeep. With much work still to be done, it is hoped that by being listed on Missouri’s Most Endangered Historic Places, that a renewal of interest for the building will help generate not only awareness for the building’s condition but will also to help raise the much-needed funds for the preservation of this historic building that many consider to be the heart and soul of the Newburg community.

 

 

The Coleman House – Poplar Bluff, Butler County

Coleman House

Poplar Bluff’s Coleman house was constructed about 1902 for local prominent dentist, Charles Bernard Coleman and his wife, Ruth Hinckley. Dr. Coleman was born in 1873 in Foristell, Missouri, the son of Daniel T. And Sarah C. Price Coleman, a native of Missouri. Sarah’s parents were originally from Virginia and relocated to promote the primary pioneer settlement of Missouri. Her father, Job Price, was the cousin of Confederate General Sterling Price, and was considered one of the more affluent farmers and property owners of Warren County. The house is significant architecturally as it was designed in the Colonial Revival style, which is unusual in this Southern Missouri town. It is located in a well-known residential area of Poplar Bluff less than a block from the North Main Street Historic District. While it retains many of its original architectural elements including wood trim, hardwood floors, fireplace mantles, original staircase, pocket doors, transoms and plaster walls, the house has been vacant since 1983 and has been condemned by the City of Poplar Bluff, which has ordered its demolition if required repairs are not made. There is strong support within the community to save the Coleman House, and it is hoped that this listing will help persuade the current owner to sell the property to someone who is interested in renovating this important historic property.

 

 

University of Missouri Historic Resources – Bel Nor, St. Louis County

(photos: Mark Abeln, Ryan Brooks)

Normandie Hall Mark AbelnAlumni Center Ryan Brooks

A community outcry against demolition of two important buildings on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis has caused this nomination to Missouri’s Most Endangered Historic Places. The first is at 2800 Normandy Drive and is currently known as Normandie Hall. This building is on the former estate of James H. Lucas, one of the original settlers to the area. Originally a convent for the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, it was constructed in 1922 and used by the Sisters until 1992 when sold to the University of Missouri. The University utilized the building first as on-campus housing, then as the Honors College center, then as a conference center, before vacating a few years ago. The other building is currently known as the Alumni Center. Located at 7956 Natural Bridge Road, the house is a substantial Mediterranean style house built of all masonry construction in 1927. The exterior features stone, and red brick as well as a green glazed tile roof. Interior features include arched leaded glass windows, French doors, decorative plaster walls and molding and terrazzo floors throughout. The University vacated the Alumni Center and maintains that it is too costly to renovate.  Given the strong community support shown for the preservation of these buildings, the University has agreed to stave off demolition to see if suitable owners can be found to renovate and again occupy these buildings. We hope that by naming them to the list of Most Endangered Historic Places, purchasers interested in renovation and repurposing of these buildings might be identified.

 

 

The Franz Schmidt Cabin – Cape Girardeau, Cape Girardeau County

Schmidt House

The current appearance of what was the Franz Schmidt Cabin – a frame Bungalow design typical of the 1930s – belies its original form. The settlement of this property occurred prior to 1832, although it is unsure whether a building existed here when Franz Schmidt acquired it in 1860. During some initial rehabilitation work in 2013, the first logs became visible from beneath the exterior clapboard siding, and it was discovered that the southern half of the house was indeed a log “cabin” of modified lap and half-notch construction.  The cabin structure is shown in early lithograph maps of Cape Girardeau and military maps from the Civil War. The cabin is in close proximity to the location of the Union Army’s Fort A and was very near to the horse corral, on land now bisected by what is now Cape Girardeau’s Fountain Street. Verbal historical accounts from the Schmidt family indicate that Franz Schmidt was its builder. The original core of the present house represents one of the oldest extant structures in the historic City of Cape Girardeau, as well as being a rare remaining structure in the Fort A District, and a rare example of German Vernacular construction. The City of Cape Girardeau has condemned the house and considers it “impractical” for renovation. A support group consisting of local preservationists has been working with the house’s owner to stabilize the building, and has also done preliminary work toward listing it on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, these supporters have established a social networking site and have begun the process of establishing a tax-exempt corporation in order to raise funds for its restoration. It is hoped that listing on Missouri’s Most Endangered will help persuade the City of Cape Girardeau to give the preservationists more time in which to raise these funds and establish a new use for this historic place.

 

 

The Henry Miller House – Bloomfield, Stoddard County

Miller House Rebecca Schmitt

This house was constructed sometime between 1845 and 1849 for Henry Miller, a civic leader and merchant who was prominent in the early swamp land reclamation movement in Southeast Missouri and was also involved in the creation and promotion of the Cairo & Fulton Railroad Company in the 1850s.  Known architecturally as an “I-House,” it is believed to be the oldest in Stoddard County and one of the oldest houses in Southeast Missouri. The interior of the house retains much of its original material, with the exception of minor repairs.  The house was used as a residence continually from the time it was constructed until about 1979 and has been vacant ever since.   The house has since fallen into general disrepair from neglect, some siding is missing, and the porch collapsed and was removed.  A $200,000.00 grant was received several years ago to restore the house, but after one of the contractors failed to produce, the grant was forfeited. Student volunteers from the Historic Preservation Association at Southeast Missouri State University have been working to stabilize the Miller House. It is hoped that Missouri’s Most Endangered List will bring added recognition to this historic place, that the building can be listed on the National Register of Historic Places and that it will be able to once again garner economic favor through a broader system of support. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Schmitt 

 

 

 

The Phillip Kaes House – Sherman (Castlewood State Park), St. Louis County

Kaes House

The land on which the Phillip Kaes house sits was part of a Spanish land grant to Samuel Pruitt, who was one of the first English-speaking settlers west of the Mississippi. By 1862, most of Pruitt’s holdings had been divided between the Lewis, Kaehs (Kaes) and Coons families. The house was sited on land belonging to the Kaeses. There is still a private cemetery on the property bearing Kaes family inscriptions. The house is designated a St. Louis County Landmark and is now part of Castlewood State Park. It suffers sorely from lack of maintenance. Acquired by the State Parks Department in 1980, one year later the first proposal to pay for its restoration started through the bureaucratic maze. Finally in 1986 $172,000.00 was allocated by the state legislature for the house, but officials shifted money to other needs at the park. In the ensuing years, time has not been kind to State Parks budgets and even though the house was listed in a previous Most Endangered list, has continued to fall into disrepair. It is hoped that this nomination will call attention to the need for increased funding for Missouri’s State Parks and historic buildings that have been acquired into the State Parks system.

 

 

The James Clemens House – The City of Saint Louis

Clemens House

This house, completed 1859-60 was designed by architect, Patrick Walsh and constructed for James Clemens, who was a highly successful businessman and cousin to writer Samuel Clemens. The house is listed on the National Register and is a St. Louis City Landmark. This imposing Palladian-style villa with extensive cast iron ornamentation represents one of the most intact antebellum mansions in the St. Louis area. After the death of the illustrious owner in 1888, the house and furnishings were sold to the Sisters of Carondelet, a chapel addition was constructed, and the property became the Convent of Our Lady of Good Counsel. The Sisters enlarged the property to include a dormitory and a Georgian Palladian chapel, which was designed by Aloysius Gillick and completed in 1896. Beginning in 1949 the buildings were used by a number of Roman Catholic communities and charities, and in 1987 it was sold to the Berean Missionary Baptist Association and then in 2005 to the Universal Vietnamese Buddhist Association. In these recent years, the complex has been used as a homeless shelter and the buildings have received little or no maintenance. A 1984 inspection report suggested that the cast iron used in the façade had become cracked and brittle, allowing water to be trapped behind. The quoins at the corners of the building were reportedly in bad condition, were missing fragments and cracking at the anchor bolts. A conservative price tag for repairs needed at that time was $100,000.00. Since then the building has transferred hands a number of times, the most recent being to the developer of the proposed “NorthSide Regeneration” project. Representatives of NorthSide Regeneration removed the cast iron façade of the house years ago when it was promised the building would be renovated. Since then, even though NorthSide has received substantial tax credits for redevelopment of the area, nothing has been done to preserve or stabilize the house or additions, and the roof of the nearby chapel has collapsed. It is hoped that this nomination will encourage NorthSide Regeneration to complete rehabilitation of the Clemens House and to include preservation as a focal point of its future plans in the NorthSide Regeneration area.

 

 

Greenwood Cemetery – Hillsdale, St. Louis County

Greenwood Cemetery

Greenwood Cemetery was established in 1874 as the first commercial African-American cemetery in the St. Louis area. After emancipation and before the establishment of Greenwood, the majority of African-Americans in this area did not have a choice of burial location for their deceased family members – due to Jim Crow laws the potters fields and other city-owned cemeteries were the final resting places not only for indigents, but also for people of color no matter what their circumstances or status. Greenwood, with its rural location, park-like setting and 31.85 acres of beautiful well-kept grounds was a welcome change for the small but growing black middle class.  Maintenance at the cemetery seems to have ended in the 1980s, as the cemetery showed a drastic loss in revenue due to decreased burials. In 1993 burials ceased at the cemetery due to deteriorating conditions and eventually vegetation was allowed to grow wild in all of Greenwood’s 31.85 acres, making it an impenetrable wilderness. Due to the many decades of neglect, the situation at Greenwood is grim. Much of the cemetery has been used as a dump site, the roads are impassable, stones have been toppled and buried, and shrubs and trees have now become impenetrable overgrowth. Despite current conditions, this site has potential as a cultural and historical resource. It has enormous potential for education, African-American genealogical research, and could be restored for hiking, biking and other activities.

 

 

The Route 66 Bridge – Eureka Vicinity, St. Louis County

Route 66 Bridge

 The Route 66 Bridge over the Meramec River in Southwest St. Louis County was constructed in 1932 and is known as a Warren deck truss bridge, of which only three other examples remain in Missouri.  Route 66’s passage across the Meramec River was heavily promoted as a tourist attraction due to the river itself, as well as the adjacent working class resort community known as Times Beach.  Although major highway traffic is now carried over the Meramec by the Interstate 44 Bridge, the Route 66 Bridge was incorporated into the boundaries of Route 66 State Park, which opened in 1999.  A Route 66 Museum was opened in a former lodge and road house, which houses maps and memorabilia from “The Mother Road.” Most of the remaining acreage of the park, however, lies across the bridge in what was formerly Times Beach, leaving the interpretive center cut off from most of the remaining park space. Previously one of the most visited State Parks in Missouri at around 250,000 visitors per year, park attendance has dropped since the bridge’s closure in 2009. There is strong support from a number of local and statewide groups to preserve this bridge.  Since this is a deck truss bridge, the biggest detriment to its structural integrity is the heavy weight of the concrete surface above. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has used some of the money in its demolition budget to remove the deck and give supporters of saving the bridge until 2015 to find a new owner to assume the cost of rehabilitation.

 

2014 Watched Properties List: 

Athens Methodist Church – Athens, Clark County

Wheatley-Provident Hospital – Kansas City, Jackson County

The Frank L. Sommer “Cracker” House – St. Joseph, Buchanan County

The Diamonds Cafe – Villa Ridge, Franklin County

School Buildings of Missouri – Statewide

The Kemper Arena – Kansas City, Jackson County

The Russell Hotel – Charleston, Mississippi County

The Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church – Lexington, Lafayette County

The Pelster House Barn – Franklin County

 

Mo Pres FL2 PMS logo

MISSOURI’S MOST ENDANGERED ANNOUNCEMENT MADE IN BLOOMFIELD MAY 21, 2013

                               2013  List Announced at the Henry Miller House in Bloomfield, Stoddard County

Missouri Preservation announced its list of the State’s Most Endangered Historic Places for 2013 at a press conference held at the Henry Miller House,  106 Cape Road in Bloomfield, Missouri 63825.  The announcement was made at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21,  2013.  The Miller House was constructed some time between 1845 and 1849 for Henry Miller, a civic leader and merchant who was prominent in the early swamp land reclamation movement in Southeast Missouri and was also involved in the creation and promotion of the Cairo & Fulton Railroad Company in the 1850s.  Known architecturally as an “I-House,” it is believed to be the oldest in Stoddard County and one of the oldest houses in Southeast Missouri.

2013 LIST OF MOST ENDANGERED HISTORIC PLACES 

 

The Henry Miller House - Bloomfield, Stoddard County 

Pre porch removal, courtesy of Rebecca SchmittThis house was constructed some time between 1845 and 1849 for Henry Miller, a civic leader and merchant who was prominent in the early swamp land reclamation movement in Southeast Missouri and was also involved in the creation and promotion of the Cairo & Fulton Railroad Company in the 1850s.  Known architecturally as an “I-House,” it is believed to be the oldest in Stoddard County and one of the oldest houses in Southeast Missouri. The interior of the house retains much of its original material, with the exception of minor repairs.  The house was used as a residence continually from the time it was constructed until about 1979 and has been vacant ever since.   The house has since fallen into general disrepair from neglect, some siding is missing, and the porch collapsed and was removed.  A $200,000.00 grant was received several years ago to restore the house, but after one of the contractors failed to produce, the grant was forfeited. Student volunteers from the Historic Preservation Association at Southeast Missouri State University have been working to stabilize the Miller House. It is hoped that Missouri’s Most Endangered List will bring added recognition to this historic place, that the building can be listed on the National Register of Historic Places and that it will be able to once again garner economic favor through a broader system of support. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Schmitt 

The Poage-Arnold House “Three Gables” - Kansas City, Clay County

EPSON MFP imageThis house originated as a simple two-room building constructed ca. 1824, and the substantial brick addition was added in about 1860. The building is a center hall Gothic Revival style house, and is a rare example of this architectural style both in this community and statewide. Located outside Liberty Missouri in Clay County, it is actually situated within the city limits of Kansas City and is possibly the oldest structure in the Kansas City area. Three Gables has been deemed eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and in 1976, as part of the country’s bicentennial, the house was listed as one of Clay County’s seventy-six most significant historic buildings. Since its sale in 2000, the surrounding farmland has been developed for residences, apartments, and commercial enterprises. The owners from 2000 through 2013 had intended to raze the house and sell the land for development. Thus the house has not been maintained for over a decade. These owners recently lost the land through foreclosure, and the property was sold at private auction. The new owners, a real estate conglomerate from California, are investigating demolition. Due to its location in a dangerous curve on Missouri 291 Highway, and to the surrounding residential development that has occurred in the last decade, it is unlikely that the property could now be sold for commercial development. It is hoped this nomination will help the new owners understand the importance of this structure and call for its preservation in future development plans. 

The Ozark Community Building - Ozark, Christian County

NWCornerConstructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Ozark Community Building was dedicated in July of 1933. The material used for the exterior walls of the building is native fieldstone, referred to locally as “giraffe stone.” The Community Building became obsolete when the City opened the new Ozark Community Center in 2009. While the building has a sensitive owner in the Christian County Museum and Historical Society, it has now been vacant for a number of years. Several areas of its fieldstone walls are in need of re-pointing, and the roof is compromised and leaking. Lack of interior environmental control has caused moisture and humidity to create an unhealthy atmosphere. A fundraising drive to fix the roof, plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning has begun so that the Museum can eventually get an occupancy permit. It is hoped that listing on Missouri’s Most Endangered will develop a public awareness of the challenges to this property and emphasize to former and current residents of Ozark the importance of restoration/renovation of this important historic resource.

The Phillip Kaes House - Sherman, St. Louis County

KaesHouse01The land on which the Kaes house sits was part of a Spanish land grant to Samuel Pruitt, who was one of the first English-speaking settlers west of the Mississippi. By 1862, most of Pruitt’s holdings had been divided between the Lewis, Kaehs (Kaes) and Coons families. The house was sited on land belonging to the Kaeses. There is still a private cemetery on the property bearing Kaes family inscriptions. The house is designated a St. Louis County Landmark and  is now part of Castlewood State Park. It suffers sorely from lack of maintenance. Acquired by the State Parks Department in 1980, one year later the first proposal to pay for its restoration started through the bureaucratic maze. Finally in 1986 $172,000.00 was allocated by the state legislature for the house, but officials shifted money to other needs at the park. In the ensuing years, time has not been kind to State Parks budgets and the house has continued to fall into disrepair. It is hoped that this nomination will call attention to the need for increased funding for Missouri’s State Parks and historic buildings that have been acquired into the State Parks system. 

Camp Zoe - Round Spring, Shannon County

EPSON MFP imageCamp Zoe is sited on a hill overlooking Sinking Creek, a tributary of the Current River. The 350 acres on which the camp is located abuts the Ozark National Scenic Riverways where Sinking Creek meets the Current. Camp Zoe was opened in 1929 as an all girls summer camp and eventually was made coed. Original buildings dating to 1929 include the Lodge, where activities were held (included a library), the Dining Hall, the “Old Shelter”, a mostly open air shelter where activities were held, the Stables, Cabins I, II & III and several service and out-buildings. The lodge was the most significant structure, sited at the top of the hill overlooking the camp grounds and constructed of native Ozark stone and timbers harvested from the site. Over the years four other cabins were added. Camp Zoe closed as a summer camp after the summer of 1986 due to escalating insurance costs and associated rises in camp tuition, which had begun to cause the number of campers to dwindle in the early 1980s. After a few years of renting the camp for retreats and large camping groups, longtime owners Jack and Lois Peters sold Camp Zoe to a religious organization. That organization made little to no changes to the camp and grounds, using it primarily for summer retreats through the 1990s. In 2004 members of the Grateful Dead tribute band The Schwag purchased the camp. By this time, many of the buildings were beginning to become run down due to deferred maintenance. The Schwag addressed some issues and made simple repairs to the cabins and showering facilities. The Schwag cleared some ground north of the main camp for their annual “Schwagstock” music festivals, but the camp itself largely maintained its original integrity. In early November 2010 the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency raided the camp after the final show at the annual “Spookstock” music festival. Following the raid court documents were filed alleging that the music festivals at Camp Zoe were the site of widespread, rampant use and sales of illegal drugs. Camp Zoe was seized by the federal government. While the historic camp is not in immediate danger of destruction, it faces an uncertain future brought about by the federal seizure. Many of the historic buildings, which have suffered from deferred maintenance and partial repairs are in a fragile state. It is hoped that listing Camp Zoe on Missouri’s list of Most Endangered Places could bring wider attention to a place that could be lost to neglect but has the potential of once again functioning as a camping/lodging or retreat facility offering visitors an escape from the daily barrage of our busy lives.

The James Clemens House - City of Saint Louis

Complex 2013 RetouchedThis house, completed 1859-60 was designed by architect, Patrick Walsh and constructed for James Clemens, who was a highly successful businessman and cousin to writer Samuel Clemens. The house is listed on the National Register and is a St. Louis City Landmark. This imposing Palladian-style villa with extensive cast iron ornamentation represents one of the most intact antebellum mansions in the St. Louis area. After the death of the illustrious owner in 1888, the house and furnishings were sold to the Sisters of Carondelet, a chapel addition was constructed, and the property became the Convent of Our Lady of Good Counsel. The Sisters enlarged the property to include a dormitory and a Georgian Palladian chapel, which was designed by Aloysius Gillick and completed in 1896. Beginning in 1949 the buildings were used by a number of Roman Catholic communities and charities, and in 1987 it was sold to the Berean Missionary Baptist Association and then in 2005 to the Universal Vietnamese Buddhist Association. In these recent years, the complex has been used as a homeless shelter and the buildings have received little or no maintenance. A 1984 inspection report suggested that the cast iron used in the façade had become cracked and brittle, allowing water to be trapped behind. The quoins at the corners of the building were reportedly in bad condition, were missing fragments and cracking at the anchor bolts. A conservative price tag for repairs needed at that time was $100,000.00. Since then the building has transferred hands a number of times, the most recent being to the developer of the proposed “NorthSide Regeneration” project. Representatives of NorthSide Regeneration removed the cast iron façade of the house years ago when it was promised the building would be renovated. Since then, nothing has been done to preserve or stabilize the house or additions, and the roof of the nearby chapel has collapsed. It is hoped that this nomination will encourage NorthSide Regeneration to complete rehabilitation of the Clemens House and to include preservation as a focal point of its future plans in the NorthSide Regeneration area. 

The Frizel-Welling House - Jackson, Cape Girardeau County

frontThe Frizel-Welling House was begun in 1818 by Joseph Frizel as a modest Cape Cod style house. That same year Mr. Frizel married Sarah Bollinger, the only child of Frederick Bollinger of Whitewater Missouri, where the now famous Bollinger Mill had been built.  They owned the house only until 1820, when it was purchased by a Mr. Von Phul, and yet another owner before being purchased by Charles Welling in 1838. Mr. Welling purchased it as a new home for he and his bride, the former Elizabeth Frizel, daughter of original owners, Joseph and Sarah Frizel. The Wellings substantially enlarged the house, adding a large two story front-gabled Greek Revival structure. A skirmish occurred in Jackson during the Civil War, and  a bullet in a wash stand which remains in the house. In addition, a “mini-ball” was found in the side yard. In 1864 the First Presbyterian Church was organized in the parlor of the Frizel-Welling home. The family’s generosity is well-known throughout the town’s history, and for a time the parlor also served as the home for Jackson’s first public library. The descendants of the Frizels and Wellings still hold title to the property. Over the years, generations of the family have brought and left personal belongings in the home. The house’s history is evident today as you walk through the house. Every room appears complete as it did many years ago, with well-aged books filling the bookshelves and remarkable pieces of history at every turn, with pieces of history found simply by opening a drawer or storage chest.. The building has recently been put up for sale and there has already been one major threat to the Frizel-Welling House. A sales contract for the asking price was received by the family by an interested party who had sought to demolish the house for a parking lot. Knowing this, the family rejected the contract. The State of Missouri has been approached about perhaps acquiring the property for a State Historic Site, given the extraordinary collection of books, furniture and other family belongings at the House, as well as its family connection to the nearby Bollinger Mill SHS.  The Most Endangered designation would bring further recognition to this site and to the need for timely action to save and preserve the building as well as its amazing collection of artifacts, and may even convince the State to acquire the building as a State Historic Site. Photo courtesy of James Baughn. 

Greenwood Cemetery - Hillsdale, St. Louis County

Georgie Lee Plot Spring 2009Greenwood Cemetery was established in 1874 as the first commercial African-American cemetery in the St. Louis area. After emancipation and before the establishment of Greenwood, the majority of African-Americans in this area did not have a choice of burial location for their deceased family members – due to Jim Crow laws the potters fields and other city-owned cemeteries were the final resting places not only for indigents, but also for people of color no matter what their circumstances or status. Greenwood, with its rural location, park-like setting and 31.85 acres of beautiful well-kept grounds was a welcome change for the small but growing black middle class.  Maintenance at the cemetery seems to have ended in the 1980s, as the cemetery showed a drastic loss in revenue due to decreased burials. In 1993 burials ceased at the cemetery due to deteriorating conditions and eventually vegetation was allowed to grow wild in all of Greenwood’s 31.85 acres, making it an impenetrable wilderness. Due to the many decades of neglect, the situation at Greenwood is grim. Much of the cemetery has been used as a dump site, the roads are impassable, stones have been toppled and buried, and shrubs and trees have now become impenetrable overgrowth. Despite current conditions, this site has potential as a cultural and historical resource. It has enormous potential for education, African-American genealogical research, and could be restored for hiking, biking and other activities.

 The Book House - Rock Hill – St. Louis County

DSC04079The “Book House,” as it is known by the business that has been located there for the past thirty years, is a center hall Gothic Revival Style house, and was likely constructed in the early 1860s. The property switched hands among early French St. Louis settlers and eventually ended up in the hands of noted Mississippi River Captain George C. Keith, who was most likely the owner at the time that this building was constructed. The style that Captain Keith chose for the home he built on Manchester Road became popular in the early 1800s beginning with the works of Maryland architect Alexander Jackson Davis, who published a design book in 1832 entitled Rural Residences. His guide book featured the romantic, picturesque Gothic Revival houses as the ideal style in which to construct a country house.  American landscape designer, horticulturist and writer Andrew Jackson Downing promoted the Gothic styled house as perfect for the country, with its wide, often double-gabled front and expansive porch. It may be that, if Captain Keith were the house’s first owner, that the style might have also been derived of the “Steamboat Gothic,” which was used for many of the river boats he encountered, with their wrap-around galleries decorated with ornate wood “gingerbread” trim. Buildings in the Gothic Revival Style are quite rare in Missouri and especially in St. Louis County where this building is located, and this is possibly the oldest Gothic Revival style house in St. Louis County.  The owner of the Book House building is entertaining a sale to a developer of the property on which the Book House stands. The developer reportedly wants to build a drive-in self-storage facility. Although neither application for a demolition permit nor plans for the new storage facility have yet been submitted to the City of Rock Hill, the owner has acknowledged that this is his intention and has served the Book House tenants with a notice that their lease will not be renewed and advised them to vacate within ninety days. It is hoped that by calling attention to the House through Missouri Preservation’s Most Endangered Historic Places Program, that the City of Rock Hill might be persuaded to reject the demolition permit and that the owners and developers would consider other real estate development that would preserve this rare and significant example of Gothic Revival architecture in St. Louis County. 

2013 Watched Properties List:

Film Row District – Kansas City, Jackson County

Wheatley-Provident Hospital – Kansas City, Jackson County

The Frank L. Sommer “Cracker” House – St. Joseph, Buchanan County 

The Lyric Theater Building – Newburg, Phelps County 

The Diamonds Cafe – Villa Ridge, Franklin County 

School Buildings of Missouri – Statewide 

Historic Bridges of Missouri – Statewide (Including Route 66, St. Louis County and Riverside, Christian County) 

The Kemper Arena – Kansas City, Jackson County 

The Russell Hotel – Charleston, Mississippi County 

The Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church – Lexington, Lafayette County

The list of Missouri’s Most Endangered Historic Places is announced annually to call attention to threatened historic resources in Missouri.  Nominations are solicited from citizens statewide and the properties chosen are considered endangered for a variety of reasons, including deterioration, neglect, encroachment, potential demolition or a combination of threats.  Nominations for this year’s list came from all corners of the state.  Counties with endangered historic places on this year’s list include Clay, Christian, Jackson, Shannon, Stoddard, St. Louis Counties, as well as the City of St. Louis.

Missouri Preservation is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to education, advocacy and recognition for historic resources throughout Missouri.  Contact Missouri Preservation staff at (660)882.5946 or (314)-691-1941 and by email at preservemo10@yahoo.com or mpfieldservices@yahoo.com.

 

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MISSOURI PRESERVATION’S MOST ENDANGERED HISTORIC PLACES PROGRAM 

The first Most Endangered announcement was made in 2000 and was the program instituted as a media campaign aimed at calling attention to endangered historic resources statewide, serving as a call to action. In 2010 the program was expanded and staff support and a board liaison was assigned to each of the endangered places to assess the immediate needs of the endangered resource and assist the nominators to help ensure the preservation of each of the endangered resources. A public call for nominations is made each spring and nominations received from Missouri citizens. Nominations are assessed by a committee of Missouri Preservation’s governing board and the announcement of their selections is made at one of the sites chosen to be on the official list, usually during National Preservation Month.

CLICK ON THESE LINKS FOR PAST ENDANGERED HISTORIC PLACES:

2012 Most Endangered Historic Places Web Site Button

      

     

     

     

    

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

A Progress Report on the 2011 Most Endangered Historic Places

 At some there hasn’t been a lot of movement, and at a couple the movement can probably be described as backwards, but here’s the lowdown on some of the 2011 Most Endangered:

The Williams Gierth House in Poplar Bluff: As a perk of Missouri Preservation membership, you can list your historic property for sale on our web site. Such was the case with the Williams-Gierth House, (a.k.a. The Castle House). The current owner saw the listing on our web site and purchased the house in late 2011 with the intention to restore this wonderful Victorian. In addition, Darren Bell, a graduate student in Historic Preservation at Southeast Missouri State University has nominated the building to the National Register of Historic Places, which will make it eligible for the state’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit.

The Jefferson School in Cape Girardeau: In late 2011, the City of Cape Girardeau issued an order to remediate structural deficiencies at this building or demolish. Missouri Preservation worked with local liaisons to urge owners of this building to gift the building to a non-profit that might be interested in renovation. The Prodigy School received the building as a gift and initially planned to renovate it for use as an educational facility again. The new owners may be thinking about building new, so we are hoping they will decide to sell the building to another party for rehabilitation before deciding to demolish.

Hodgen School in the City of Saint Louis: The Transitional School District of the City of St. Louis Special Administrative Board voted on February 16, 2012  to expend almost three quarters of a million dollars to demolish the Hodgen School for a playground and parking lot. This represents what we feel is a tremendous waste of a useful building in a (currently non-accredited) school district which is already financially strapped. The building is in an area of St. Louis which is known for its vast tracts of vacant land, so the district need not look very far for available playground or parking space.

William P. Thompson House in Grundy County: A local organization has acquired the Thompson House from the State Division of Parks and has already raised tens of thousands of dollars to restore the house for use by the community. The house is now ready to receive a replacement roof and windows as supporters have recently completed restoration of all the brickwork and foundation. They have also been milling and installing oak floor boards from locally raised timber. This is going to be an amazing transformation of an historic house that sat in ruin for many years!

The Route 66 Bridge in St. Louis County and the Riverside Bridge in Christian County: The Route 66 Bridge received a grant in 2011 from the National Trust to perform a feasibility study. Since then, the group has gotten another grant from the National Park Service to perform an historic structures report. The State Department of Transportation has been supportive of their efforts. In Christian County, Section 106 Review should begin soon as Christian County is discussing the construction of a new bridge at the current site and moving the historic bridge to dry land alongside the new bridge and roadway.

Fairfax House and the Rock Hill Church in St. Louis County: The Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery sold the property on which these two building sits in 2010. The City of Rock Hill granted permission to Fenton-based UGas to construct a gas station on the current site of these two landmarks soon after. UGas agreed to move the Fairfax house, but not the church, and gave locals one year in which to find a new owner. The group was unable to raise the funds necessary to move the church in the short time allowed. It looks now like Fairfax will be moved to city-owned property elsewhere, and that the church will probably be destroyed and its building stone reused for a chapel at a winery near Foristell, Missouri.

The Russell Hotel in Charleston: The Russell Hotel was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places by Tiffany Patterson of the State’s Historic Preservation Office. It is hoped that this listing might attract a developer who might be interested in using the State Historic Preservation Tax Credits to renovate the building for future use, perhaps as housing.

The Lexington Municipal Auditorium in Lexington: The non-profit Lexington Auditorium Association was formed and the City of Lexington has recently agreed to grant them a 99-year lease. After it is passed into ordinance on April 10, 2012, a major donor campaign will be kicked off, utilizing the State’s Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) Credits. The building will be retrofitted to meet ADA requirements and the auditorium returned to its original purpose, hosting both private and civic functions.

Zion AME Church in Lexington:  The Zion AME Church building has been vandalized a couple of times since its listing on our Most Endangered list, but the community has come forward to repair and stabilize until a suitable new owner can be found. Discussions are currently being had with the Wentworth Academy, a college-prep military school about acquiring the building for incorporation into their campus. The community is considering building a new hospital, and Wentworth is interested in acquiring the old hospital building. The church sits on land in the middle of the old hospital and the Academy, so the structure would be a natural addition for use as a chapel or repurposed for a new use.

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