Places in Peril 2018

The Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation announced the 2018 Places in Peril list on Friday, October 26, 2018 at the offices of Rosin Preservation in Kansas City.

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2018 Places in Peril

The Sarah Lou Cafe
4067-69 St. Louis Avenue
City of St. Louis

Historic Salem High School Building
Tenth and Hickory Streets
Salem, Dent County

The Barbagallo House
Second and Oak Streets
Kimmswick, Jefferson County

Burlington Northern Depot
Bethany, Harrison County

Henry Miller House
Bloomfield, Stoddard County

Former Lincoln School
Jackson, Cape Girardeau County

Emmaus Homes Campus
Marthasville, Warren County

Methodist Episcopal Church of 1922
Second and Douglas Streets
Lee’s Summit, Jackson County

Westland Acres
Chesterfield, St. Louis County

Capitol Avenue Historic District
Jefferson City, Cole County

Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) Buildings in the City of St. Louis
Thousands of Potentially Historic Buildings

Kansas City Board of Education & Library Building
1211 McGee Street
Kansas City, Jackson County

Old Nevada Post Office Building
Nevada, Vernon County

Historic Resources in Missouri State Parks
Statewide

The Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge
Hazelgreen (vicinity), Laclede County


2018 Watched Properties List

St. Joseph Livestock Exchange– St. Joseph, Buchanan County

The Old Calaboose/Jail– Elsberry, Lincoln County

The Frank L. Sommer “Cracker” House– St. Joseph, Buchanan County

The Russell Hotel– Charleston, Mississippi County


Missouri Preservation would like to thank our wonderful 2018 Places in Peril Sponsors:

RosinPreservation500

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Wollenberg Building Conservation



The Sarah Lou Cafe
4067-69 St. Louis Avenue
City of St. Louis

Safe Lou Cafe - Front View.jpg

The Sarah Lou Cafe was constructed in 1906 and is situated at the corner of Sara and St. Louis Avenues in the Greater Ville Neighborhood in the City of St. Louis. The building is one of four two-story, corner mixed-use buildings at this intersection, and is the only one of the four that is vacant. Owned by the Land Reutilization Authority, a state/city governmental agency, the non-profit group, Northside Community House, Inc., has a one year option to purchase. Generally the façade of the building is in good condition. It has a terra cotta roof and bay windows overlooking the streetscape. Interior floors are solid and could be retained and refinished. Like many other properties of this caliber that have sat vacant, it has been stripped of copper, plumbing and most other items that might be sold for scrap. While the building’s interior is in generally good condition, the exterior is in dire need of stabilization due to un-boarded windows and deteriorating masonry walls.  The Ville Neighborhood is representative of the resilience of African Americans in St. Louis to thrive and prosper in an age that was marked by racism and exclusion. In spite of adversity, the neighborhood has a rich history of African American education, business and art.  The Café building is a historically significant landmark, gathering spot and family restaurant in St. Louis’s North City. Its loss would represent a loss of urban fabric, density and the rich history of this neighborhood.  By listing on Missouri’s historic Places in Peril, it is hoped that Northside Community Housing, Inc, will garner further visibility and credibility in its case for support and will help raise the philanthropic dollars needed to rehabilitate this local landmark.

Historic Salem High School Building
Tenth and Hickory Streets
Salem, Dent County

The former Salem High School, commonly known as the Old Salem Middle School, is a 22,500-square foot building that was constructed 1910-1911. Designed by prominent Missouri architect, Henry Hohenschild, it is an attractive two-story T-shaped building of solid brick construction and retains much of its historic building materials and character. Two other buildings occupy the site of the school, including a frame one and a half story gymnasium and a single story building that originally served as a janitor’s residence and home economiSalem School-facade-north viewcs classroom. Both of these support buildings were constructed c.1920.  Situated on a five acre parcel of land, the buildings are situated on a hill at the highest point on the lot. The Salem High School was the first public high school to be constructed in the town, and served the educational needs of Salem’s young citizens for over eighty years as high school, junior high school and middle school. The City of Salem is considering demolition of the school and associated buildings due to years of neglect and the inability to attract a viable owner.  This complex has been determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, which would make its rehabilitation eligible for both federal and state historic preservation tax credits. It is hoped that listing here might attract the attention of an interested developer who might utilize these incentives to renovate and repurpose this important historic high school campus.

The Barbagallo House
Second and Oak Streets
Kimmswick, Jefferson County

Barbagallo home in Kimmswick before disrepairThe historic Barbagallo House is already enjoying its second life. Thought to be originally constructed in the 1850s, the house once stood at 9050 Green Park Road in St. Louis County. It was constructed on land belonging to John Peter Didier, a native of France who served as Missouri’s first State Treasurer. It is a one-story building on a raised basement foundation and is a significant example of French creole architecture in the region.  In 1975 the house was donated to Lucianna Gladney-Ross by Barbagallo descendants. Mrs. Gladney-Ross was instrumental in the renaissance in the town of Kimmswick, having helped to finance the restoration of several historic homes and the dismantling and reassembly of some others in the town, including the Barbagallo House.  After the death of Mrs. Gladney-Ross in 2012, the home was sold, and in the years since her death has been transferred to three other owners.  During this time both the front and back porches to the house have been removed, and the building has fallen into severe disrepair.  It is hoped that by listing here, that the current owner might seek to improve the conditions at the house or sell to a preservation-minded owner, and that the City of Kimmswick might adopt some sort of preservation ordinance aimed at protecting historic resources in this tiny tourist town.

Burlington Northern Depot
Bethany, Harrison County

Bethany Depot Bethany Republican-ClipperThe former Burlington Northern Railway Depot in Bethany was the last active depot in Harrison County. It originated in 1880 when the first train arrived on October 28.  The building represents a typical depot design, with a low pitched hipped roof with wide overhanging eaves, and inside a large passenger waiting area, baggage and freight area, and an office and ticket window.  The depot was the center of activity prior to World War I as the station employed a station agent, a freight agent and a telegrapher. Four daily passenger and freight trains passed through Bethany. The trains were met by reporters, taxis and drays, and lunches were brought for railway passengers. Scores of riders came to the station on their way to the annual Northwest Missouri State Fair. Circus animals as well as solders were picked up at the station at various points in its history. Today the depot is threatened due to neglect. Boards on the inside and outside decks are in good condition, but the floors are sagging and in need of shoring. The building’s exterior needs to be repaired and painted. Interior walls and ceilings are damaged, and termite infestation was recently remediated. It is hoped that listing on Missouri’s Place in Peril will help bring awareness of the plight of the depot to citizens interested in its preservation. The City of Bethany plans to earmark a small portion of their 2019 budget for repairs at the depot, but the City’s funds will not be enough for a full renovation. It is hoped that a restored depot would not only contribute to a sense of pride in Bethany’s history, but might also house an events venue and farmers market in the summer months.

Henry Miller House
Bloomfield, Stoddard County

miller-house-rebecca-schmittThis house was constructed sometime between 1845 and 1849 for Henry Miller, a civic leader and merchant who was prominent in the early swamp land reclamation movement in Southeast Missouri and was also involved in the creation and promotion of the Cairo & Fulton Railroad Company in the 1850s. Known architecturally as an “I-House,” it is believed to be the oldest in Stoddard County and one of the oldest houses in Southeast Missouri. The interior of the house retains much of its original material, with the exception of minor repairs. The house was used as a residence continually from the time it was constructed until about 1979 and has been vacant ever since. The house has since fallen into general disrepair from neglect, some siding is missing, and the porch collapsed and was removed. A $200,000.00 grant was received several years ago to restore the house, but after one of the contractors failed to produce, the grant was forfeited. Student volunteers from the Historic Preservation Association at Southeast Missouri State University were responsible for getting the Miller House listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and have been working to stabilize the Miller House, but the building is still in need of total renovation. Formerly in private hands, the property has now been deeded to the Stoddard County Development Foundation (SCDF), a federally tax exempt organization, so that any funds donated to the house’s renovation will be recognized as donations. It is hoped that Missouri’s List of Places Peril will bring added donors to the SCDF. To donate, or for more information, call the SCDF’s Sue Tippen at (573)568-4400.  Photo courtesy of Rebecca Schmitt.

Former Lincoln School
Jackson, Cape Girardeau County

Lincoln SchoolThough certainly earlier buildings existed prior, the earliest evidence found of a school building in Jackson for the African American community comes from 1892, when it was noted that the Knights of Tabor Hall at 107 Cherry Street was being used as the black school. Then in 1894 the first Lincoln School on Union Street was constructed for the instruction of Jackson’s African American students, and was the center of the black community until a flood destroyed the building in 1946. The second Lincoln School (pictured here), situated on a lot at the intersection of Oklahoma and West Jefferson avenues was constructed in 1947 and was used for educating black children until 1953, when they were integrated into the white schools. For two years the school was used for kindergarten and first grade, then was remodeled and used as administrative offices in the late 1950s. District administration remained here until 1988 when the building was again remodeled for use as a support services building for Jackson Public Schools. The Lincoln School building is significant as the largest, newest and only African American school building in Jackson and one of only two remaining in the County. In June of 2017 the Jackson R-2 School District demolished the historic former Jackson High School built in 1920, and the School superintendent has been quoted as saying this would be “the next to go.” By listing here, the citizens of Jackson hope that awareness of this proposed demolition will serve as a call to action to implore the School District to halt demolition and find an alternative use for this historic building.

Emmaus Homes
Marthasville, Warren County

Emmaus Homes.jpgThe Emmaus Home Complex in Marthasville began as a seminary for the German Evangelical Church in Missouri.  A campus of five buildings was completed here by 1859. Four of these remain in various states of repair, those being the Farm House, Bake Oven, Friedensbote (Messenger of Peace) Publishing House, and the Dormitory. The College Building itself was lost to a fire in 1930. The seminary was in operation at this site until 1883, when it moved to St. Louis and eventually became Eden Seminary. In 1893 the campus in Marthasville became known the Emmaus Asylum for Epileptics and Feeble Minded. The campus grew to a total of eight substantial buildings including a chapel, by 1928. In more recent years the religious denomination became the United Church of Christ and the two campuses the church body owned – this one in Warren County for men, and the other in St. Charles County for women – became known simply as the Emmaus Homes. This is an important historic site, having been constructed by some of the tens of thousands of Germans who emigrated here beginning in the 1830s. In the area the first Evangelical church west of the Mississippi was constructed, and this marked the beginning of the Synod of the west, known as Der Deutsche Evangelisch Kirchenverein des Westens.  The buildings in the complex are unique in that they are of sturdy limestone construction in varying German styles by German immigrants. They are representative of the tenacity of some of Missouri’s earliest Germans, and are unique in that most are original with very few modifications over the years. Through the years the approach toward caring for the handicapped and developmentally disabled has also changed, and care for the residents at Emmaus has shifted from large institutional settings to smaller group homes. Emmaus has indicated that they wish to transition all clients away from Marthasville by 2020. The Emmaus Homes Board of directors has initiated steps toward listing the campus on the National Register of Historic Places to help lure a potential developer for the property that is respectful of its history and to make a reuse of the campus eligible for the state’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program. It is hoped that by listing as one of Missouri’s Historic Places in Peril, Emmaus will continue to try and find a suitable new owner and reuse for this historic campus. For Emmaus contact information call Missouri Preservation at (660)882-5946.

Methodist Episcopal Church of 1922
Second and Douglas Streets
Lee’s Summit, Jackson County

1922 Methodist Church Lee's   Summit..jpgThe Methodist Episcopal Congregation of Lee’s Summit chose architect Carl Sechler to design its new church building, which was completed in 1922.  It is a large rectangular shaped masonry building constructed of red brick. Four Corinthian columns on the building’s façade frame three large arched stained glass windows. Two large doors at each end of the building are surmounted by demi-lune transoms. The building is crowned by a belvedere with windows that allow access to a walkable flat roof.  The building here represents the unification of Northern and Southern rival branches of the church, and the founder of Lee’s Summit, William B. Howard, was a member of the Church. The current building is one of only two remaining churches in Lee’s Summit of masonry construction. Built in the Renaissance Revival style, it is the only building standing in this distinctive style within the city limits. The property is endangered by a proposal that includes construction of four story apartment building and parking lot for four hundred cars. The proposed project, named Summit Church Redevelopment calls for the demolition of its namesake church. The project would receive tax increment financing (TIF) giving a tax incentive to demolish a valuable historic resource that could be repurposed rather than replaced. It is hoped that by listing here, the local city council will seek to promote a redevelopment plan that calls for preservation of its historic buildings, and make historic buildings a part of its plan for future economic development planning. An eligibility assessment for listing on the National Register of Historic Places might help find a developer sensitive to the repurposing of the church building, and make it eligible for other financial incentives, including the state historic preservation tax credit.

Westland Acres
Chesterfield, St. Louis County

westland-acresWestland Acres is a residential subdivision of approximately 130 acres on the border of the villages of Chesterfield and Wildwood in suburban west St. Louis County. It contains a handful of two and three bedroom wood frame homes tucked into the woods along Church Road, and is anchored on the western edge of the subdivision by the Union Baptist Church, which was constructed in 1984 after the old church building burned. In the church yard is the John W. West Cemetery, formerly known as the West-Gumbo Cemetery. The cemetery contains about 30 graves dating from as early as the 1870s. Westland was established in 1881 when William West and his wife Pollie, who were recently freed slaves were able to purchase 150 acres from Norris Long on what was then a remote area of St. Louis County. There the West family built a log cabin and established what would become the community of Westland. The property was eventually divided among descendants of this original family, and by 1950 there were 45 families living in the neighborhood along what was still a dirt road. Many of the families still farmed and lived off the land. The community has now dwindled to under 10 families, though Westland retains its historic ties with descendants of William West. Decades ago there existed many African American enclaves throughout St. Louis County. But these have become rarities as their communities, often marginalized, were frequently the first to face the wrecking ball. Westland Acres is today threatened by encroachment of high priced development. The surrounding area has been transformed from rural backwater to one of St. Louis’s wealthiest areas. This development has caused property values to skyrocket, and along with it, the property taxes. These burgeoning tax bills are driving residents out of their homes and to more affordable areas of the region. It is hoped that by listing here perhaps the residents of Westland Acres might get tax relief from St. Louis County so they might be able to afford to stay in the historic community which has been their ancestral home for nearly 150 years.

Capitol Avenue Historic District
Jefferson City, Cole County

401 E CapitolThe Capitol Avenue Historic District includes over one hundred properties on nine city blocks near the State Capitol in Jefferson City. On a significant east-west thoroughfare, there are good examples of Italianate, Queen Anne, Colonial, Gothic Revival, and French Second Empire Styles, as well as more modern Spanish Revival, Craftsman and Art Deco representatives. The buildings in the District continue to reflect development of the neighborhood from 1870 to 1945, and retain a high degree of integrity from its various periods of development. There are The District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. Currently over 25% of the Capitol Avenue Historic District consists of derelict property, and the majority of these properties are owned by one individual, who has not been willing to repair the decaying buildings or to sell them to owners interested in renovation. Long a concern to preservationists, the City Council adopted an ordinance declaring the entire district blighted, and the local housing authority developed a renewal plan which strives to renovate properties through voluntary repair, sales to new owners, and by seizure by eminent domain. A number of condemnation suits have been filed against the delinquent owners of the largest number of properties, but the process is slow and abandoned buildings still prevail. In 2018 the City of Jefferson completed major infrastructure improvements on East Capitol Avenue, these attractive improvements in stark contrast to the continued blight. It is hoped that by including the entire Capitol Avenue Historic District on our Places in Peril, that attention can be called to the area and recognition given to the positive effects the City has so far taken to stabilize the District, and that continued pressure can be made on the City and the Housing Authority to use its authority of condemnation to promptly and effectively cause the salvation of the many blighted properties within the District through encouragement of voluntary repairs or acquisition by the Housing Authority which can in turn sell the properties to developers and new home owners.

Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) Buildings in the City of St. Louis
Thousands of Potentially Historic Buildings

LRA 1The Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) in the City of St. Louis owns over 11,200 parcels of property. LRA estimates that there are approximately 6,200 buildings on these various properties, both commercial and residential, constructed between 1870 and 1950. Many are located in local or National Register historic districts, and even more if surveyed might be determined eligible for historic district listing. Most of the LRA’s holdings are located in distressed neighborhoods due to a large number of tax foreclosures, so it is possible that LRA will end up owning more potentially historic buildings in the future. LRA’s major policy of disposition of these buildings each year has been ad hoc demolition, presenting a major threat to preservation of the vernacular architecture of St. Louis. The St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) is currently in its third year of funding the demolition of LRA-owned buildings in North St. Louis, where the District is spending a planned $13.6 million per year over twenty years to demolish 1,300 vacant buildings, creating passive storm water retention spaces in place of buildings. In South and Central St. Louis, MSD plans to separate storm water from city sewers, but in North St. Louis has chosen the cheaper route of simply creating storm permeable land by removing the buildings. Furthermore, the City of St. Louis increased its annual demolition funding through a ballot initiative, spending about $1 million annually on building demolitions. Two recent efforts to combat demolition-only policies have recently been passed. One calls for selling vacant houses for one dollar to citizens who would make one of these buildings their private residence for five years. A recent court decision also allows the City to issue $6 million in bonds each year to fund stabilization for weather-proofing of historic and vacant buildings held by the LRA, representing the first-ever stream of funding for protection rather than demolition of these buildings. With the guaranteed prospect of increased urbanization in our nation and state, extant buildings show far more potential for contributing to the economy and quality of life than vacant land. Unimproved property values are low, while improved property with buildings yield the highest promise of tax revenue. Currently LRA lacks to funds to market for-sale properties, but the promotion of dollar houses and stabilization efforts are great preservation tools. It is hoped that this listing will amplify the cause for further change and also announce to preservationists the need for citizens to step up and purchase LRA buildings. Never before have there been these tools to aid with preservation and counteract demolition policies, and now is the time for people to take advantage of them before we lose thousands of great buildings.

Kansas City Board of Education & Library Building
1211 McGee Street
Kansas City, Jackson County

KC Board of EducationThe Kansas City Public Library and Board of Education Building occupies a full city block at 1211 McGee Street in the heart of Kansas City’s central business district. The building consists of a modernist black glass and aluminum covered nine-story office tower atop a two story new formalist style stone base, much in the style of Mies van der Rohe. It was designed by prominent local architect, Edward W. Tanner and was completed in 1960.  The interior of the building is divided into three distinct spaces, consisting of the library at the base, office tower above, and parking garage to the rear, at the building’s south façade.  Having retained its integrity of location and setting, design, materials and workmanship, it has been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.  The public library moved from this location approximately fifteen years ago, and in the ensuing years, tenancy by the Kansas City Board of Education had diminished until the building became completely empty two years ago.  Offered for sale by the Kansas City School Repurposing Initiative, a hotel corporation announced plans to demolish the building and construct a 242-room hotel on the site. In the wake of what it called an inadequate incentives package offered by the City, the hotel developers just this week withdrew plans for the hotel development. It is hoped that by listing here a new developer might be found that would utilize the historic preservation tax credit as one of its financial incentives and be able to retain and renovate the building, which has been put back on the real estate market by Kansas City Public Schools.

Old Nevada Post Office
Nevada, Vernon County

Nevada Sheriff E.jpgThe last couple of decades of the 19th century brought phenomenal growth to the town of Nevada, Missouri. The Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy) Railroad came in the 1870s. The W.F. Norman Company, known for its manufacture of pressed metal products, including tin ceilings (still in business here and using the same wooden molds), was established in the 1880s, as well as Cottey College. In 1887 the State of Missouri constructed State Mental Hospital Number 3 here, which eventually employed over 1,100 employees. Then in 1897 came the Weltmer Institute. Its founder, Sidney Weltmer believed that healing could be a successful business. He authored the book, “How to make Magnetic Healing Pay,” and practitioners performed mental healing through telepathy and mental suggestion. The institute treated hundreds of people a day, and employed 17 healers and over 100 stenographers and typists just to process the daily mail. The need for a large local post office was evident, and the US Postal Service upgraded the Nevada post office to Class A and constructed a beautiful and commodious building in 1910. The 6,000 square foot building was designed by James Knox Taylor (1857-1929) who was the Supervising Architect of the United States Department of the Treasury from 1897 to 1912. Mr. Taylor studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and for a time was partners in an architectural firm with Cass Gilbert. Taylor designed many notable buildings in his time, including the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, Denver and Philadelphia Mint buildings, as well as US Post Offices from New York to San Francisco. Plans to build a new Nevada post office were announced in 1961, and when completed the old building was taken over by the county Sheriff’s Department and the county jail. Eventually a new facility was constructed for the office and jail, and the former post office building was auctioned off in May of 2012 as surplus property. The building has been empty and improperly maintained since then. With the guidance of Missouri Preservation, local museum director Will Tollerton recently completed an eligibility request for the National Register of Historic Places for the post office building and the State Historic Preservation Office found the building eligible for listing, making it likewise eligible for the state and federal historic tax credit. The current owner is interested in selling and any interested buyer should contact Mr. Will Tollerton at (417)667-9602.

Historic Resources in Missouri State Parks
Statewide

philip-kaes-houseMissouri’s state parks not only include public lands and natural features essential to recreation. They also include many historic structures, such as the Philip Kaes homestead and cemetery in Castlewood State Park (St. Louis County) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) structures in Sam A. Baker State Park (Wayne County) and Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park (St. Louis County).  Historic resources within these parks and thousands of other historic and potentially historic structures within Missouri’s State Parks are crumbling due to funding limitations.  Meanwhile, millions of dollars have gone toward the establishment of new state parks, some with luxury lodge accommodations in the past several years, resulting in under-funding of maintenance and improvements at existing parks and historic sites.  Deferred maintenance in the National Parks system is currently being addressed in the US Legislature in the National Parks Legacy Act, which would address the severe backlog of maintenance and capital improvement projects. It is hoped that by listing here, our Division of State Parks might seek to encourage similar legislation to provide the same type of funding to address the backlog and ongoing maintenance needs of historic resources in Missouri’s system of State Parks and Historic Sites.

The Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge
Hazelgreen (vicinity), Laclede County

Gasconade Bridge.jpgThe Route 66 Bridge over the Gasconade River near Hazelgreen consists of a three-span through truss structure which was designed by the Missouri Highway Department and fabricated by the Illinois Steel Company of Chicago between 1922 and 1924. It represents one of the few bridges remaining from the 1920’s and constructed even before the Federal Aid Highway Act, which established a national highway system in 1925. Route 66 is without a doubt the most famous road in America. The bridges and roads that are part of the Route 66 corridor are important because they characterize Missouri and the changes that took place as a result of the automobile. Scenic byways such as Missouri’s Route 66 have value not only for aesthetics and preservation, but are also a way to promote heritage tourism and increase tourism income. Historical records show that there has long been an absence of repair and maintenance at this bridge. The Gasconade River Bridge near Hazelgreen was reported for several years to be deficient, but no remediation done to correct its problems. Then in 2014 the bridge was permanently closed to traffic. Recently Pulaski County and the Missouri Department of Transportation reopened a similar Route 66 bridge, the Devil’s Elbow Bridge. The effort was funded in large part with grant money.  The Route 66 Gasconade River Guardians received a National Park Service matching grant in the amount of $6000, and the group is now pursuing an engineering assessment to determine the structural status of the Bridge.  When completed they hope to more actively pursue a new owner for the Bridge, as the Missouri Department of Transportation has plans to begin demolition in March 2019 if a suitable new owner is not identified. It is hoped the assessment will be a tool to estimate repair costs to make the bridge safe for pedestrian, bicycle or vehicular traffic. It is hoped the Route 66 Gasconade River Guardians can continue their work to help raise awareness and needed funds to find it possible to reopen this iconic bridge on the “mother road.”