Guitar House to get neighbors

Habitat for Humanity, the city and the state agree to build homes near the historic site.
Tuesday, August 5, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:31 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 12, 2008

One of the oldest antebellum homes in Boone County, the Guitar House, built in 1860, will soon be a neighbor to homes of the 21st century.

The City Council signed an agreement Monday between Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity, the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office and the city that will allow Habitat to build the Norbury Hill subdivision off Oakland Gravel Road. The subdivision will harbor 27 homes at an estimated budget of more than $1.3 million for materials and land.

The city approved a community development block grant of $62,000 to aid Habitat with the subdivision’s infrastructure. The money will be used to build streets, sewers and water lines.

The need for an agreement between parties arose when the state historic office declared that the building of a subdivision would have an adverse impact on the historic site of the Guitar House.

“We’re not out to stop anybody’s project,” said Brant Vollman, archeologist for the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office. “But we want to make sure that if there is an impact on the historic property, we minimize the potential impact.”

The parties have settled on stipulations that Habitat must abide by when developing the subdivision. Habitat must plant and monitor a vegetative barrier, a row of trees or shrubbery, that will visibly divide the Guitar House from the subdivision. Habitat must also notify the historic preservation department to exclude the subdivision area from the historic district.

Vollman said the stipulations are sufficient for maintaining the historic preservation of the Guitar House and surrounding land.

After years of planning, Habitat is looking forward to building the new subdivision.

“It has taken two and a half years for the whole process,” said Vivian Nimmo, executive director of Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity. “If everything goes as scheduled, we will have groundbreaking on Sept. 21, and infrastructure building will begin after that.”

Nimmo said the owners of Guitar House, Noel and Mary Ann Crowson, are in favor of the building. The Crowsons could not be reached for comment.

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