COLUMBIA — Ten buildings and properties have been named to the Historic Preservation Commission’s 10 Most Notable Properties list. Among those named are the Dumas Apartments and the old Flat Branch wastewater treatment plant.
Representatives of all 10 properties and members of the Historic Preservation Commission, will give a presentation as part of Historic Preservation Night. The event will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Tiger Hotel.
The Columbia Historic Preservation Commission's 2009 Most Notable Properties will be honored at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Tiger Hotel at 23 S. Eighth St.
- Annie Fischer House: 2911 Old 63 S.
- Cape Cod-style private home: 1252 Sunset Drive
- Dumas Apartments: 413 Hitt St.
- State Highway Maintenance Building: 900 Old 63 N.
- Missouri Press Association building: 802/804 Locust St.
- Old Flat Branch wastewater treatment plant, now Audubon Society of Columbia's Trailside Nature Center: 800 S. Stadium Blvd.
- Private home: 700 Mount Vernon Ave.
- Quarry Heights neighborhood and quarry
- St. Clair Hall at Columbia College: 1001 Rogers St.
- Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church: 702 Wilkes Blvd.
Properties are chosen by applications and nominations by Columbia residents. The property must be at least 50 years old, be occupied by a historic person, have unusual architectural qualities, renovations and interesting attributes or stories about the structure.
Evelyn Richardson, co-owner of the Dumas Apartments, discovered one such story while researching the history of the building she and her husband, Jack, have owned since 1959.
According to a newspaper article Richardson found, police raided the basement of Dumas in 1920 during Prohibition. Two arrests were made and police confiscated a four-gallon still, a 10-gallon jar of mash, a sack of hops, four bottles of beer and a pint of distilled alcohol.
Nothing remains of the old basement, which has been redesigned to fit new apartment units.
“I would just love to get in a time machine and go back and see what it looked like,” Richardson said.
Researching the building’s history, with help from her daughter Linda Doles, is something that has given Richardson a new perspective on history.
“It’s been an interesting experience because I didn’t know a lot about it,” says Richardson. “It makes history come alive."
Much like the Dumas Building, a small two-story brick building on the MKT Trail has seen decades of Columbia history. In almost 70 years, the building has served as a wastewater pumphouse, public lavatory and nature center.
Advanced for its time, the Flat Branch treatment plant was erected in 1939 by President Franklin Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration, Sewer Utility Manager Terry Hennkens said.
The pumps at Flat Branch were decommissioned in 1983 when the Columbia Regional Wastewater Treatment plant opened, Hennkens said, and the building and its pipes lay dormant until 1985, when the Parks Department renovated the lower level to provide public restrooms at the MKT Trail.
Since 1985 the Parks Department has allowed the Columbia Audubon Society to use the upper level to showcase local natural history as a trailside nature center.
When the Audubon Society moved in, member Dolores Clark said, members found remnants of Bunsen burners, a ventilation chimney and other bits of the sewer utility's old laboratory. Retired Columbia teacher Jeanne Barr, 86, worked with several others to convert the building. She recalled that a group of Audubon members approached the City Council about the Flat Branch building when they heard it was unused.
"They didn't really have any plans, so they agreed to let Audubon use it as a trailside museum, and we've been there ever since," Barr said.
The Parks Department has taken care to maintain the building over the years, Park Services Manager Mike Griggs said. "We recognized the value of that building as a historical site long before it became one."