Crews work to remove rubble after Victorian-style house demolished

Crews work to remove the rubble of what was once a more than 100-year-old Victorian-style house on Bass Avenue in the East Campus neighborhood on Tuesday. Another 100-year-old house, seen in the background, also will have to be removed to make way for a new 16-unit apartment complex.

COLUMBIA — Construction crews demolished a Victorian-style house in the East Campus neighborhood on Monday to make room for a new apartment building. 

The building, which was located at 1316 Bass Ave. and was over 100 years old, was one of two houses that Elizabeth Crawford's CCD Investments firm planned to demolish for the construction of the apartment building.

According to previous Missourian reporting, the new building will be called Courtview Apartments and will include 16 new apartments when it's completed in fall 2017. The apartments will be a combination of two- and four-person rooms, with a total of 48 bedrooms in the structure. 

Rusty Palmer, staff liaison for the city's Historic Preservation Commission, said that the house was a focal point for the East Campus neighborhood and, at the time of its demolition, was even used on the East Campus Wikipedia page to represent the area. 

"We hate to see anything like that be torn down, but in this instance, it was more of a neglect case," Palmer said. "This was an instance where there wasn't a lot of options for saving it."

In previous Missourian reporting, Crawford said a burst pipe and a flood more than eight years ago made the home uninhabitable.

Despite the preservation commission reaching out to owners, it wasn't able to salvage anything from the house as originally planned due to the neglect.

Shane Creech, the city's building and site development manager, said that demolition permits for the two homes had been issued before May 16, the deadline for the student housing freeze put in place by the Columbia City Council. This policy banned issuing demolition and building permits for new apartments within a mile of downtown Columbia through Dec. 1.

The two homes were some of the last few buildings granted demolition permits before the deadline. Others included the Sigma Nu fraternity house on College Avenue and the former sites of Bengal's Bar and Grill and Casablanca Mediterranean Grill on Sixth and Elm streets.

Creech also said CCD Investments has an approved plan and building permit that would allow them to begin construction at any point.

The Victorian-style house was a "kit home," a popular style during the early 20th century, Creech said. These houses were built from plans that could be purchased from a Sears catalog and were found all over the country during that time.

In a 1995 report from the National Register of Historic Places in the East Campus neighborhood's Historic District, the house was called "the most obvious remnant from the Victorian age." The house, built in the 1890s for William T. Bayless, was considered a classic example of the Queen Anne architectural style. It included a corner tower, stained glass windows and large bay windows.

According to the report, Bayless moved to Columbia in 1892 and became treasurer of Stephens College in 1905, a position he kept until his retirement in 1926. He was one of many Stephens College faculty to live in the area at the time. He lived at the home on Bass Avenue until the late 1910s.

While it was intact, it was one of "very few intact Queen Anne buildings to be found anywhere in Columbia," according to the 1995 report. "The Bayless house is individually significant as a reminder of the types of houses that were commonly built in Columbia."

Supervising editor is Jared Kaufman.

Samantha Brown is a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.

  • Samantha Brown is a student at the University of Missouri majoring in English and Journalism.

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