Missouri’s Most Endangered 2004

Dr. George L. Bralley House (ca.1871) Louisiana

This ten room Italianate residence is one of the finest early Victorian properties in the City of Louisiana. It is located one block west of the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River in a section of the “old town” which contains most of Louisiana’s anti-bellum mansions. The property has been unoccupied for more than 40 years and is extremely dilapidated. Offers to purchase and rehabilitate the property have been refused by the owner.

Jerry J. Presley Center (ca. 1930)

The Presley Center is a wonderful collection of rustic stone and wood buildings in a unique valley setting along the Current River. The buildings are excellent examples of 1930’s vernacular architecture. The center is also one of the last remaining examples of the private hunting and fishing clubs that were once prevalent in the area.

Currently owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and used as a lodging and meeting space for educational groups, MDC planned to demolish all but three of the dozen historic buildings on property.

The Jerry J. Presley Center has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been transferred from the Conservation Department to the State Parks system under Deparment of Natural Resources. Governor Blunt announced in 2007 that it will be our newest state park!

Casper Weckerle Grocery Buildings (ca. 1879, 1890)
St. Joseph

This two story Italianate commercial building, which sit side by side, are located in the South Fourth Street Historic District and are listed on the St. Joseph Landmarks Commission’s Most Endangered List. The buildings were built in 1879 and 1890 by Casper Weckerle a Swiss-German emigrant, who had been a partner in a firm Uhlinger & Weckerle before opening his own grocery store in 1879. Vacant for over a decade, these buildings suffer from years of neglect. Two years ago, the property was purchased at a tax sale and grant funds from the City’s Brownfield Initiative Program helped pay for the removal of 70 tons of debris from the property using. However, no further work on the buildings has been done, and the leaking roof continues to cause structural damage.

Roadside Parks in Missouri

Threatened roadside parks, turnouts, and scenic overlooks exist across Missouri adjacent to state highways. Numerous examples of these threatened resources are located on Historic Route 66 including the Oak Grove Roadside Park, near Leasburg, Missouri, a roadside park near Albatross, MO and a scenic overlook near Devil’s Elbow, MO. Oak Grove Roadside Park has been closed by Missouri Department of Transportation; its signs and tables have been removed, the circular drive has been blocked and it is overgrown with weeds. The park near Albatross has been cut off from the highway by road improvements, and the scenic overlook near Devil’s Elbow has a stone retaining wall, which continues to deteriorate from lack of maintenance.

Woodside (Chas. S Rannells House) (ca. 1848)

This antebellum farmhouse, which is probably the oldest house in Maplewood, is associated with the Charles Rannells family. The two-story Greek Revival house is designated a County Landmark by the Historic Building Commission of St. Louis County. Purchased by the Forest Park Congregation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in 2000, the property has been in litigation since the City of Maplewood refused to rezone the property to allow for the house to be demolished and a new church constructed. Meanwhile, the house is vacant and is suffering from deferred maintenance.

Simmons Stable (1887)

Considered the oldest and largest public stable in the nation in continuous use as a horse facility, the Simmons Stable helped make Audrain County “the Saddlebred Capital of the World.” This large frame barn, built by Cyrus F. Clark in 1887 and purchased by the Simmons family in 1949, has recently been replaced by a new barn and is no longer in use. Although the barn is in need of stabilization and repair, the barn is a good candidate for adaptive reuse.

Miller County Courthouse (1859, 1909) Tuscumbia

This two-story Classical Revival courthouse is one of only six county courthouses in the state that has been in continuous use since before the Civil War. Its 1909 renovation included the “temporary” painting of a clock on the newly added cupola that has perpetually stood at 8:00 since. In 2003, Miller County abandoned the historic courthouse and built a new courthouse was built several blocks away, leaving a large vacant building in the middle of Tuscumbia’s historic downtown square.

The James Clemens, Jr. House (1859-60) St. Louis

The James Clemens, Jr. House, St. Louis, 1859-60. Constructed in 1859 for James Clemens, Jr., a highly successful businessman and cousin to writer Samuel Clemens, the James Clemens, Jr. House is listed on the National Register and is a St. Louis City Landmark. This imposing Palladian villa with extensive cast iron ornamentation represents one of the most intact antebellum mansions in the St. Louis area.

After the death of the illustrious owner in 1888, the house and furnishings were sold to the Sisters of Carondolet, a chapel addition was constructed, and the property became the Convent of Our Lady of Good Counsel. In recent years, the complex has been used as a homeless shelter and the buildings have received little or no maintenance. Although the property changed ownership in 2002, the buildings are still vacant and in need of repair, maintenance and rehabilitation.

George Washington Carver School (1937)

Constructed in 1937 by the Kansas City architectural firm of Felt, Dunham, & Kreihn, the George Washington Carver School has been the center of Fulton’s African-American community. It is one of the only architect-designed African-American schools in the State of Missouri, and it was dedicated by Dr. George Washington Carver, for whom the building was named. The school closed in 1982 and was used for storage for several years, but in 1989, it was purchased by the George Washington Carver Memorial Foundation with the intent of restoring the building to its prominent place in the lives of Fulton’s African-American community.

Although the school had been used as a black history museum and library and by the Fulton Family Resource Center, the building is now vacant and continues to deteriorate. Despite its importance to the black community of Fulton and Callaway County, the George Washington Carver Memorial Foundation continues to struggle to fund the on-going repair and maintenance of the building to ensure that this important piece of Fulton and Missouri’s black heritage is preserved.

Campbell Chapel A.M.E. Church (1865) Glasgow

Founded in 1860 by freed slaves Corbin and Ann Moore, Campbell Chapel is the oldest African-American congregation in the town of Glasgow, Missouri, and a notable and highly intact example of vernacular Greek Revival architecture in Missouri. Under the direction of carpenter Corbin Moore, a small group of freed slaves erected the brick church on Commerce Street in 1865, naming it in honor of the 8th consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Rev. Jabez P. Campbell.

One hundred thirty-seven years later, Campbell Chapel, A.M.E. Church still stands as one of the most intact mid-nineteenth century African-American churches in Missouri. The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. The simple, vernacular Greek Revival period building set into the side of the hill features a largely unaltered brick exterior and an interior that retains many of its early furnishing. The threat to Campbell Chapel involves a dwindling, aging church congregation and the fact that funds are insufficient to maintain the historic structure. The building is in immediate need of re-pointing, its soft brick having succumbed to 137 years of freeze and thaw.