Missouri’s Most Endangered 2005

Andrew Baker House
Desloge | St. Francois County, 1794

One of the earliest and largest log houses in this part of Missouri, the Baker house is two stories and has stone fireplaces. Andrew Baker was the area’s first merchant, a slave-owner, and wealthy. The property has not been in use for sometime, has a leaking roof and has suffered serious neglect.

Cave Spring School (1875)
Sarcoxie |Jasper County

This one-room school house is the oldest school in Jasper County and the present building is constructed of bricks from an earlier school on this site. Closed since 1966, the school is in a rural area. A local association works with the school, but the building was in need of a new roof and direct threats to this site included neglect and vandalism to the structure’s bricks and wiring.

UPDATE: The Cave Spring School received funding through a private foundation and made repairs to its masonry and roof and flooring. It is now considered saved and they are celebrating their renovation on October 6, 2007!

Civil War Battlefields Across Missouri:  Specifically the Little Blue Battlefield (1864)
Independence, Jackson County and
the Wilson’s Creek Battlefield (1861), Green and Christian Counties

A battle in October 1864 was fought on the banks of the Little Blue River between some 10,000 Union and Confederate forces. It resulted in slowing the advance of the Confederates up the Missouri River and served as a prelude to the Battle of Westport two days later. 2,300 soldiers died in the battle at Wilson’s Creek and this battle gave the Confederates control of southwestern Missouri. Both of these sites are endangered by residential and commercial development and as well as by proposed highway development.

Courthouses Across Missouri: Specifically the Clark County Courthouse (ca. 1870)
Kahoka | Clark County

Historic Preservation continues to be threatened by sections of the Missouri State Legislature. This past session, the Senate, but not the House, passed a bill to divert monies from preservation to fund sports facilities, most of which would be in urban areas. This Bill would have eliminated the funding for Historic Preservation Revolving Fund, one of whose programs was scheduled to work on county court houses and city halls. The Revolving Fund offers the only potential financing for the restoration of these publicly owned historic resources. Thus, some legislators see funding for maintenance and help to rural and urban county court houses as nonessential.

The Rotunda (1864)
Hermann |Gasconade County

This red-brick octagon is on the National Register of Historic Places and was constructed as part of a fairground by the Gasconade County Agricultural Association to provide a location for horticultural exhibits and wine-judging events. The building, with its rare shape, demonstrates the importance of viniculture to the economic growth and identity of Hermann as a distinctly German community. It is threatened by years of deferred maintenance, lack of interest, and the City Park Board’s talk of demolishing the structure.


The MKT Railroad Bridge (1932)
Cooper and Howard Counties

This bridge constitutes the only Missouri river crossing for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) railroad. It has a unique vertical lift span design to allow easy passage of river traffic. The lift span itself is 408 feet long, electrically operated, and weighs more than 1,200 tons. This bridge merged railroad and river commerce on the Missouri River. It is in excellent structural condition and the quality of its steel contributes to the threat to its existence. The direct threat to this structure stems from interpretations of the 1987 Rails to Trails agreement that developed the KT State Park along the Missouri Rivers. The bridge was included as part of the interim trail use agreement. However, in October 2004, the Union Pacific Railroad initiated plans to demolish the bridge and recycle its steel for new bridge at Osage City, Missouri. There was strong public outcry and demolition was temporarily on hold. However, recently DNR has reversed its position and has agreed to allow Union Pacific to remove the bridge. Therefore, there is an immediate threat to this unique historic property.


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

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.

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.

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 lodging and meeting space for educational groups, MDC planned to demolish all but three of the dozen historic buildings on property.

UPDATE: 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!

Roadside Parks Across 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.