Columbia's 2013 Most Notable Properties

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 9:43 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Six historic sites across Columbia made the Historic Preservation Commission's 2013 list of Most Notable Places including Booche's and the Niedermeyer building.

View Columbia's 2013 Most Notable Historic Properties in a larger map

If you cannot see the embedded map of the properties, click here.

Here are the descriptions and details of this year's notable properties:

Arthur and Susie Buchroeder House, 1411 Anthony St.

This Dutch Colonial Revival-style house was built circa 1906 for Arthur and Susie Buchroeder. It is one of several houses in the East Campus neighborhood that has been returned to single family use after being converted to multifamily housing in the last half of the 20th century. The gambrel roof is characteristic of the Dutch Colonial style, which was popular nationally from about 1895 into the 1930s. Front-facing gambrel roofs like this one were favored by pattern-book companies and were most often used between 1905 and 1915.

Arthur Buchroeder was an early owner of Buchroeder's Jewelers, which has been operating in downtown Columbia since 1896. The jewelry store was a family operation; his father John H. Buchroeder was also involved in the business, as was Otto Buchroeder, who might have been his brother. The 1910 population census shows that John H. Buchhroeder was living in this house with Arthur and Susie at the time, and he and Arthur were each listed as watchmakers. Arthur and Susie Buchroeder built this house shortly after their marriage and made it their home for the rest of their lives. It was in their family until 1946.

It was the home of the Niemann family for the next three decades, after which it was converted into a boarding house, a fate suffered by a number of houses in the area in that time period. Deadbolts and padlocks were installed on doors to convert the living room, dining room and bedrooms into separate living quarters, and the house had large numbers of tenants for nearly two decades. It was rescued from life as a boarding house in 1993, and the current owners purchased it in 1996.

They repaired damage done when it was a boarding house, did foundation repairs, patched cracked plaster and added reproduction textured wallpaper to several rooms. One special find was an original pocket door, which had been sealed inside the wall, undamaged, with the brass key still in the lock. (Street numbers have changed over the years. The address for this property was 1407 Anthony until sometime after 1945.)

Niedermeyer Apartments, 920 Cherry St.

At the core of this rambling brick apartment building is the oldest building in downtown Columbia.

The first section was built circa 1837, and the building reached its current form by 1902. This is one of just two Columbia buildings built before 1840; only "Greenwood Heights" in northern Columbia is older. The northeast corner of the building is the oldest section; the ground floor there was built circa 1837, and the second floor was added to that section in 1851.

This property has a long connection to the education of women in Columbia. It was built to house the Columbia Female Academy, which was established before MU. In the 1850s, trustees of the academy formed a new women's school, which later became Stephens College. Later, the building spent more than a decade as the home of the MU Department of Domestic Sciences (Home Economics).

The academy moved out of the building in the mid-1850s, and it served as a private residence until the 1890s, when it was converted for use as a hotel. It is the oldest hotel building in downtown Columbia. It opened as the Cottage Hotel around 1895, and by 1902 had been expanded to its current size and renamed the Gordon Hotel. The Gordon Hotel was the first hotel in Columbia to have steam heat; it also had a bar and meeting space that could accommodate 75 people. The meeting room was located in the south wing, which also contained a kitchen on the first floor and a sample room for traveling salesmen in the basement. The hotel had a number of distinguished visitors over the years, including William Jennings Bryan in 1900 and Mark Twain in 1902.

The hotel closed around 1911, and then-owner Frederick W. Niedermeyer leased it to MU for the Domestic Science Department. The Domestic Science Department moved to White Campus in 1920, and Niedermeyer converted this building to apartments in 1921. It has seen no changes of note since, and it continues in that function today.

But the building has garnered attention recently after a demolition permit application for the building was filed by Contegra Construction on behalf of Collegiate Housing Partners, a St. Louis-based development firm. Collegiate Housing Partners is under contract to purchase the Niedermeyer building in March. It plans to build a high-rise apartment building on the lot.

The Historic Preservation Commission has opposed the demolition, and City Council raised the possibility of a six-month abeyance of demolition downtown. The measure was defeated, but Mayor Bob McDavid said he is still committed to saving the building.

W.J. and Clara Lhamon House, 703 Ingleside Drive

Built in 1926 for one of the first deans of the Missouri Bible College, 703 Ingleside has been owned by only two families in the past eight decades.

Constructed for Dr. William Jefferson Lhamon and his wife, Clara E. Lahmon, this is one of few Spanish Eclectic-style houses in Columbia. The house was built from plans prepared by the Architects' Small House Service Bureau, which formed in the 1920s to offer technical assistance to potential homebuilders who could not afford custom-designed houses. The bureau offered low-cost plans and specifications for houses "not more than six rooms in size." This house is "Design 6-A-2," as shown in a late 1920s plan book titled "Small Homes of Architectural Distinction."

W. J. Lhamon (1855-1955) was a Christian minister and writer who served as a pastor in Ohio before moving to Missouri to serve as the dean of the Bible School of Drury College in Springfield. In the early 1900s, he became dean of the Bible College of MU. A history of the bible college published in 1956 noted that Lhamon was "the first to organize instruction into classes and put the institution on a scholastic basis. Dr. Lhamon ... was instrumental in making Lowry Hall a reality."

Construction of the Lhamon house was a family affair; it was built by J. S. Watkins, the father-in-law of the Lhamons' daughter Lois, who lived across the street with her husband Ralph Watkins at the time. The two families remained on Ingleside for decades, and the house across the street is still in the Watkins family. In 1955, this house was sold to Lawrence and Emma Jean McKinin. The McKinins became friends with the Watkins family, and through them acquired a few items of furniture that had belonged to the Lahmons. Thanks to decades of good stewardship, this historic house looks much as it did when the Lhamons moved in. Mr. Lhamons' chair still graces the living room, and Mrs. Lhamon's daffodils still appear in the garden every spring. 

Booche's, 110 S. Ninth St.

This small commercial building is one of downtown’s most intact buildings, inside and out, and is home to one of the oldest continuously operated businesses in Columbia.

The building was built circa 1925 on a narrow lot that was bordered by the Hall Theater to the north and a one-story building that housed an auto dealership to the south. Booche's, a billiard hall and restaurant, has occupied the building since 1927. Neither the business nor the building have seen significant changes. Few historic buildings in Columbia retain as much original fabric as the building.

Architecturally, it can be classified as a one-part commercial block, a one-story traditional commercial building form that first became popular in the 1800s. It is the single-most intact historic one-part commercial block in downtown Columbia and one of very few downtown buildings that still sports an original storefront and early interior finishes.

Booche's is one of the only businesses in Columbia to have been in operation for more than a century. Founded by Paul "Booche" Venable in 1884, Booche's operated in several different downtown locations before moving to its current location in 1927. The business didn't have far to go for that last move; it had been in the second floor of the building across the street since 1912. Venable was included in the 1889-90 and 1898-99 state Gazetteer listings for the town and was listed regularly in city directories throughout the early part of the 20th century. (Only one other business listed in that 1889 Gazetteer is still in operation — Booth and Parker Undertaker's, now Parker Funeral Service, located on North Tenth Street.)

A longtime favorite of university students as well as permanent residents, Booche's was a regular advertiser in the University Savitar in the early 1900s. An ad published in 1904 included a phrase that still applies in 2012: "Strangers, Patrons, and Visitors Made to Feel at Home."

Pi Beta Phi Missouri Alpha Chapter House, 511 E. Rollins St.

Built in 1930 for the Missouri Alpha Chapter of Pi Beta Phi, this Georgian Revival-style fraternity house is highly intact, inside and out. The house is notable for a high level of architectural styling, and it offers a good example of how to expand a historic building with minimal impact upon the original architectural design. Although the house has seen upgrades and expansions over the years, care has been taken to preserve and protect original features, and new construction has been kept to the rear. As a result, the building today looks much as it did in 1930.

Pi Beta Phi was founded in 1867 at Monmouth College in Illinois. The organization came to Columbia in 1899, when the Missouri Alpha Chapter was established at MU. This is at least the second "Pi Phi" house at MU; the current house replaced a smaller building that was located just a few doors west of this property.

The house was designed by Kansas City architect Frederick Henry Michaelis. Original exterior features of note include the broad symmetrical facade, open side porches and a central portico that is supported by slim, stylized Corinthian columns. The interior is as intact as the exterior; most rooms feature original architectural detailing which includes tall plaster crown molding, elegant mantles and a graceful central staircase. Interior and exterior ornamentation features Colonial Revival styling based upon Georgian architecture of the American Colonial period.

A brief history of the construction project on file at the house shows that Michaelis was given specific instructions as to what the new house should look like, noting that "Without hesitancy Colonial was chosen as the style, columns and porches being particularly desired." It appears that the architect and his clients remained on good terms after the project was completed; historic records show that his daughter, Betty Ann Michaelis (Bachelor of Journalism, 1935), became a member shortly after the new building was placed in service.

Claude and Stella Woolsey House, 916 W. Stewart

This Tudor Revival-style house in the Old Southwest has been home to several prominent Columbia residents, including Rex Barrett, a two-term mayor of Columbia.

The Tudor Revival-style was popular nationally from the late 1890s until around 1940; most Columbia examples were built between 1920 and 1940. This house has several elements which are considered character-defining features of the style. They include a steeply pitched roof with a front-facing cross gable, tall narrow windows, a chimney with ornamental chimney pots and a mix of brick and stone wall cladding. Interior features of note include a great room that has 18-foot vaulted ceilings, two mantels and an original staircase.

The house was built by Oral Sigler, who had purchased the undeveloped lot in 1923. He left evidence of his role; the name of his construction company was recently found stamped on the back of a piece of interior trim. The construction project may have taken at least two years. According to census records, Sigler was living there in 1930, but a 1932 directory listed Claude and Stella Woolsey as occupants and noted that the house was under construction at the time. Claude Woolsey was a former member of the Missouri baseball team and owned a road contracting business in the 1930s. The Woolsey's owned the property from September 1932 until 1938, when they sold it to Rex P. and Lula Barrett, who lived there until 1944. Rex Barrett was Columbia's mayor from 1937-38 and again from 1940-41.

Barrett also played a major role in the motion picture industry in Columbia. He owned the Odeon Theater on Broadway in the 1910s, and in the mid-1920s was hired to supervise the construction and furnishing of the Missouri Theatre. In the 1930s, he left the Missouri Theatre to oversee the construction of the Uptown Theatre for the Commonwealth Amusement Company and eventually served as manager for most of the movie theaters in downtown Columbia. After a stint in the service during WWII, he helped open the Broadway Drive-In near West Boulevard.

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