The North Ninth Street Historic District could join National Register of Historic Places.

Monday, November 3, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:42 p.m. CDT, Sunday, June 15, 2008

Seven buildings in a single block in downtown Columbia could soon be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The buildings, known collectively as the “North Ninth Street Historic District,” will be considered this month by the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for nomination to the register, a listing of the nation’s historic and archaeological resources.

The seven buildings in the district were constructed between 1885 and 1927, but they still reflect their original architectual components.

“They’ve all retained their integrity and still look historic,” said Tiffany Patterson, national register coordinator for the State Historic Preservation Office.

A mile of history in a stretch of street

Located between Broadway and Walnut Street, the seven buildings, from 5 N. Ninth St. to 36 N. Ninth St., have played an important commercial role in Columbia for more than a century.

The businesses in the district include The Blue Note, Dryer Shoe Store, Trattoria Strada Nova, Coffee Zone, Leo’s Old Clothes and the First National Bank Building, a former saloon and theater at 13 N. Ninth St.

Other businesses in the district are My Secret Garden, Cucina Sorella, Bangkok Garden, Ninth Street Deli and Gotcha, all of which are housed in a group of buildings owned by The Kroenke Group.

The Ballenger Building, 27-29 S. Ninth St., will also receive consideration from the state advisory council. It was built in 1892 and remodeled in the late 1920s with new second-floor windows and new terra cotta sheathing. The renovation reflected a shift in downtown Columbia’s architectural standards, from Victorian to “simplified Classicism,” according to a study prepared for the Columbia Downtown Associations, which is sponsoring the district’s bid for the National Register.

“It’s a nice-looking building that’s retained its authenticity,” Patterson said. “It’s also being considered for its role in commerce in downtown Columbia.”

Getting a Face-Lift

The former home of Glenn’s Cafe, The Ballenger Building is being remodeled for office space. The future tenants of the building, along with North Ninth Street Historic District business owners, will benefit from being added to the National Register, said Carrie Gartner, executive director of the Downtown Columbia Associations.

“A lot of attention is paid to buildings that are on the Historic Register,” Gartner said. “People tend to go into those stores.”

Ruth LaHue, owner of My Secret Garden, 16 N. Ninth St., said that inclusion on the register can only help her business. The building has kept most of its early components, including the unique brick corbel work above the storefront.

“I think people already think of it as historic,” LaHue said. “But I think people not familiar with the area will be drawn to it.”

Thirteen downtown buildings already are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Missouri United Methodist Church, 204 S. Ninth St.; the Missouri Theater, 203 S. Ninth St.; and Tiger Hotel, 23 S. Eighth St., which is now Tiger Columns, a senior housing community.

The Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation will meet Nov. 14 in Louisiana, Mo., to consider some 800 properties from across the state for possible nomination to the register. A final decision usually takes 45 days, said Patterson, who is confident that the North Ninth Street Historic District and the Ballenger Building will join the nearly 77,000 listings that currently compose the National Register.

“I expect them to get through without any hitches,” Patterson said.

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