COLUMBIA — The downtown Frederick Building was reportedly designed by a relative of former President Harry Truman.
According to its National Register of Historic Places nomination, the building, located at 1001 University Ave., was designed by architect David Frederick Wallace, Truman's brother-in-law.
"I was really interested in the architect and his relationship to Harry Truman," Historic Preservation Consultant Deb Sheals said. "It's always interesting to see how the history ties in."
The building's history, combined with details like a black-and-white marble floor in the lobby and a Haughton traction elevator from 1928, are mentioned in the 42-page nomination. The staircase and doorways are made of dark wood, and two bay windows on the ground floor feature French doors with iron railings on the outside.
Community leader F.W. Niedermeyer named the Frederick Building after his son Frederick Niedermeyer Jr., a World War I pilot who died in a plane crash in 1925.
The individual apartments' floor plans are either originals or early designs. A pediment above the front door features dentil molding and a winged-shield detailing filled with stars and stripes. The shield is similar to pins given to World War I pilots.
The building was originally submitted for consideration in late October, after historical and architectural research. To be nominated for the National Register of Historic Places, a building must be maintained as closely to its original condition as possible.
Nine months later, the building's application is being reviewed at the national level by the National Park Service.
The Columbia Historic Preservation Commission approved the nomination early in the process, member Brent Gardner said.
"We've been though the worst of it," Sheals, who nominated the building, said. "Once it gets past the state council, it's a pretty sure bet. They are very particular and once they've gotten to it, we're in good shape."
If the Frederick Building makes the national register, the building will qualify for historic preservation tax credits to maintain important historical features, Sheals said. Plans for the building include a rehabilitation starting after the spring semester ends in May.
"That will be a tax credit rehab, so they will have to follow strict rules about how they treat historic materials," Sheals said.
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