Interactive map of Columbia historic properties set to launch in August

Monday, May 30, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 1:30 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 1, 2011

COLUMBIA – A comprehensive inventory of Columbia's most notable and historic properties will soon be available with a click of a button.

The Historic Preservation Commission identified five to 11 notable historic properties each year since 1998, when the commission was established, and the interactive map will identify the location and provide historical details for each.

Debbie Sheals, a local historian, was hired by the commission to research the properties, their architects and write a 300-word description of each property.

Notable historic properties on the interactive historic map range from the Central Dairy building on Broadway, built in 1927, to properties with a rich past such as Cosmopolitan Park, which was originally the Columbia Municipal Airport.

Rachel Bacon, a city planner, said a draft of the interactive map includes  132 properties that meet the criteria for placement on the historic and notable list of properties more than 50 years old.

“So, obviously, every year the amount of properties that are available will grow,”Bacon said.

The interactive map will provide a new community resource for students exploring local history and architecture, Bacon said. It's a resource for people in the community interested in historic properties, or those who buy a historic home "and want inspiration or technical assistance as to how to rehabilitate their own properties,”she said.    

The interactive map is also a good way to remind people of the history that is “in their backyard” and to prevent the history from dying out by maintaining its legacy, Bacon said.

A draft of the map is available on Google maps, and there's a place for feedback and comments. The deadline for comments is Friday, Bacon said.

"This draft is to give people an idea of what it is before the real map comes out,” Bacon said.

The Historic Preservation Commission will review the comments at its June 7 meeting and hopes to have the completed map, on a geographic information system, available in August on the city website.

Reviews and feedback are also for the consultant to make necessary changes to the final product.

The interactive historic map was first proposed in June 2010, Bacon said. In April 2010, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Office of State Historic Preservation granted $6,100 for the project, according to a previous Missourian report.

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