Missouri’s 2006 Most Endangered Historic Places
Andrew Baker House, Desloge, St. Francois County, 1794
One of the earliest and largest log houses in this part of Missouri, the Baker house is two stories and has stone fireplaces. Andrew Baker was the area’s first merchant, a slave-owner, and wealthy. The property has not been in use for some time, has a leaking roof and has suffered serious neglect.
The Rotunda (1864), Hermann, Gasconade County
This red-brick octagon is on the National Register of Historic Places and was constructed as part of a fairground by the Gasconade County Agricultural Association to provide a location for horticultural exhibits and wine-judging events. The building, with its rare shape, demonstrates the importance of viniculture to the economic growth and identity of Hermann as a distinctly German community. It is threatened by years of deferred maintenance. The Brush and Palette Club, a local group, have worked enthusiastically over the past year raising funds and seeking authorization from the City of Hermann to oversee the restoration process and receive a lease for this structure.
George Washington Carver School (1937), Fulton
Designed by the Kansas City practice of Felt, Dunham, and Kreihn, the George Washington Carver School has been a center of Fulton’s African-American community. It is one of the few architect-designed American-American schools in our state and was dedicated by George Washington Carver, for whom the building was named. The school closed in 1982, was used for storage for several years, and then purchased in 1989 by a local foundation with the intent of restoring the structure to its prominent place in the lies of Fulton’s African-American community. To this end the building has been used as a black history museum, library and family resource center. Despite its importance to the black community of Fulton and Callaway County, the George Washington Carver Memorial Foundation continues to struggle to fund the on-going repair and maintenance of this building. Missouri Preservation has helped assess the building’s structure and will continue to work with local advocates to develop a fundraising and preservation plan which includes strategies for future utilization of this important piece of Missouri’s black heritage.
The MKT Railroad Bridge (1932), Cooper and Howard Counties
This structure constitutes the only Missouri river crossing for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) railroad. It has a unique vertical lift span design to allow easy passage of river traffic. The lift span itself is 408 feet long, electrically operated, and weighs more than 1,200 tons. This bridge merged railroad and river commerce on the Missouri River. It is in excellent structural condition and the quality of its steel contributes to the threat to its existence. The direct threat to the bridge stems from interpretations of the 1987 Rails to Trails agreement that developed the KT State Park along the Missouri River. The bridge was included as part of the interim trail use agreement. However, in October 2004, the Union Pacific Railroad, headquartered outside our state, initiated plans to demolish the bridge and to recycle its steel for new bridge at Osage City, Missouri. There was strong public outcry and demolition was temporarily on hold. Recently the DNR has reversed its position and has agreed to let the Union Pacific remove this unique historic property and a court ruling in April 2006 will permit this.
Courthouses of Missouri: Including the Clark County Courthouse, Kahoka (c.1870)
Historic Preservation continues to be threatened by sections of the Missouri State Legislature. In 2005, the Senate, but not the House, passed a bill to divert monies from preservation to fund sports facilities, most of which would be in urban areas. This Bill would have eliminated the funding for Historic Preservation Revolving Fund, one of whose programs was scheduled to work on county court houses and city halls. The Revolving Fund offers the only potential financing for the restoration of these publicly owned historic resources. Some legislators continue to see funding for maintenance and help to rural and urban county court houses as nonessential.
Odd Fellows Home – Liberty, Clay County (1900-1908)
An impressive, significant complex of four buildings constructed between 1900 and 1908, the Odd Fellows Home sits on 36 acres. Three of the red-brick buildings exhibit the Jacobean-Revival style with rich stone door and window surrounds and gabled dormers. Nationally recognized architect, William Ittner, designed one of these structures, the Administration Building. Constructed for one of America’s largest fraternal orders, the Odd Fellows Home educated orphans and gave care for elderly members of the International Order of Odd Fellows. The buildings are in a state of advanced deterioration; broken windows, doors and damaged roofs create a dangerous environment.
18th and Vine Historic District (1887-1926), Kansas City, Jackson County
One of the most important African-American commercial and cultural centers in the Midwest, the 18th and Vine Historic District has undergone quality redevelopment over the past five years. Utilizing federal and private monies, the Jazz District Redevelopment Commission (JDRC) has conducted several praiseworthy projects in this neighborhood, including the construction of new space and multi-family housing. To date, however, JDRC has not completed measures to protect a number of historic buildings as the organization had agreed to when it accepted federal funds. Missouri Preservation has offered to assist the JDRC to ensure that these properties, essential to the perpetuation of this historic district, are stabilized and monitored properly until ready for reuse.
Linn County Jail, 1871, Linneus, Linn County
This building currently houses the Linn County Historical Museum. The local museum association would like to purchase the building from the County this year, but they need technical help with fund development, rehabilitation and restoration plans in order to retain original features. Much of the structure of the jail is in good condition; however, major repairs to the roof, porch and trim need to be done.
Martinsburg City Hall, Fire House and Jail, 1914, Martinsburg, Audrain County
This multi-purpose building housed a city council office, meeting room, courtroom, jail and fire house for over fifty years. Today, the city’s tractor, mower and grader are stored there. The city of Martinsburg wants to preserve the structure but needs technical assistance for rehabilitation and suggestions about future uses and planning.
Mullanphy Emigrant Home, 1867, St. Louis City
Nord St. Louis Turnverein , 1872, St. Louis, St Louis City
Often abandonment and deferred maintenance create accidents waiting to happen. The Northside of St. Louis was hit with severe weather in April 2006 and strong winds caused considerable damage to these two landmarks. The disintegration of the south wall at the Mullanphy Emigrant Home has left joists and beams exposed, sagging and potentially triggering the collapse of the roof. The damage to this structure is major but not insuperable. Missouri Preservation will be working together with the owners and area associations to aid the conservation efforts for the building.
Two years ago, the roof of the Turnverein caved in, leaving the building’s brick walls vulnerable to water damage and, ultimately, without any structural anchor. Then, on July 4, 2006 it was lost to fire caused by fireworks.
Mark Sappington House, 1840, Crestwood, St. Louis County SAVED!
This two-story house is a stunning example of American Carpenter Gothic design and is one of two houses left in eastern Missouri that uses this architectural style. Constructed between 1840 and 1848, the Sappington House is in excellent condition.
UPDATE: On Sunday, October 15, the house was moved to a new location and has escaped the demolition ball.
Union Pacific Train Depot and Stairs, 1910, Poplar Bluff, Butler County
This double-winged staircase unites two vital levels of Poplar Bluff’s commerce: the two-story brick Union Pacific Train Depot at the bottom of the hill and Main Street at the top. Both the depot and stairs are in fair to poor condition following their abandonment by the Union Pacific in 2000. A local group has secured a MoDOT matching funds grant to repair the depot’s roof. Missouri Preservation will offer technical assistance on the conservation of the depot’s interior and the staircase.