COLUMBIA — An old barn, original green light fixtures and a 100-year-old metal doorbell are just a few aspects of the farmhouse at 401 West Blvd. S. that Bunny Baxter loves. Although she and her husband John have only owned the century-old home for five-and-a-half years, they were drawn to it long before they moved in.
"We had a friend who owned the house before us," Bunny Baxter said. "When we wanted to move to Columbia, we knew we wanted it because we had already seen it."
The farmhouse is the remnant of a 187-acre farm that has been filled in by houses over time. Baxter said the original owners, Marion and Dorothy Schzotzhauer, lived there for 69 years while Dorothy taught piano lessons at West Boulevard Elementary School.
The Baxters decided to seek recognition for their home under the city's Most Notable Properties Program. It's one of 10 applications that will be considered by the Historic Preservation Commission when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
If chosen to be a Most Notable Property, the building will be filmed, photographed and researched. The information collected is then shared on the commission's interactive historic map, the city's website and during walking tours.
One aspect a house must have to be considered for the program is the extent to which it has kept its original structure.
Bunny Baxter said the majority of her house has been left as it was, aside from the renovated kitchen and bathroom.
“When we got it, there was still old yellow tile in the bathroom,” she said. “It had the same metal vents in the floor. Nobody important has done anything here, but it’s just one of those houses.”
The family home of former mayor Darwin Hindman also made the list of applications. Hindman currently lives at 1223 Frances Drive with his wife Axie. Hindman’s father, Darwin "Skippy" Hindman, lived there before them. He was a chair in the Physical Education Department and dean of men at MU.
Oddly, the Hindmans were not the ones who submitted the application for their house.
Darwin Hindman said the idea of sending in an application originally came from people he and his wife knew, and after the Hindmans drafted the paperwork, their friends sent it in for the program.
He said the program holds a certain importance to the community.
"It stimulates interest in the older, more interesting buildings around town," Hindman said. "It's good to have something to remind people of them."
Rusty Palmer, liaison for the historic preservation commission, provided these addresses and descriptions of other properties that the committee will choose from:
- The house at 1619 University Ave. It was nominated for preservation efforts and is also considered part of the East Campus Historic District.
- The former home of Arthur and Annette Case at 1508 Ross St. The Cases bought the house in 1950. Annette Case was one of the first female graduates of the Kansas State University Chemistry and Genetics Department, and she also helped found the Columbia Art League. Arthur Case was a founding member of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at MU.
- The home of Mary Helen and Jack Allen at 1003 Sunset Drive. The house was once home to La La and Bernard Dean Walters who were influential members of the Columbia community. The house is also being included in the vote due to its unique wooden floor made of scraps from the old Columbia Propeller factory.
- The "Backward House" at 823 Crestland Ave. It earned its nickname because the front porch faces the backyard.
- The building at 1506 University Ave. It's considered "architecturally significant" and is part of the East Campus Historic District.
- The building at 1415 University Ave., now home to several members of The Rock, a campus church. It was once the Phi Mu sorority house and is a component of the East Campus historic district.
- The buildings 17 and 19 on N. 5th St. were included on the same application. The two properties, Tony's Pizza Palace and Ugly Mugg, are all that is left of the historic Sharp End African-American business district.
Regardless of who wins plaques for Most Notable Property, Bunny Baxter sees the value of the program as well as all the historic homes in Columbia.
"They tore down a lot of the old houses around campus, and it was really sad to see them go," Bunny Baxter said. "I think there's a lot to say about saving old houses."