Places in Peril 2016

ANNOUNCED August 5, 2016

2016 PIP STD_Cover

The Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation (Missouri Preservation) announced its 2016 list of historic Places in Peril on Friday evening, August 5, 2016, at a special “Unhappy Hour” event at the Kansas City Museum. The announcement was made at 7:00pm in the Museum’s Carriage House. Eleven new endangered historic places were named to the list for 2016 and five were carried over from the previous year.

Emmaus Homes
Marthasville, Warren County

Parsons House
Jefferson City, Cole County

Demarree House
House Springs, Jefferson County

222 S. 4th Street
St. Joseph, Buchanan County

Kirksville High School Building
Kirksville, Adair County

Buster Brown Blue Ribbon Shoe Factory
St. Louis City

Kansas City, Jackson County

Kansas City International Airport
Kansas City, Jackson County

8th and Center Street Baptist Church
Hannibal, Marion County

Westland Acres
Chesterfield, St. Louis County

Jackson Street Low Water Bridge & McIndoe Park
Joplin Vicinity, Jasper & Newton Counties

Old Phillipsburg General Store
Phillipsburg, Laclede County

The James Clemens, Jr. House
St. Louis City

The Phillip Kaes House
Shermann, St. Louis County

The Bend Road Bridge
Pacific, Franklin County

Route 66 Meramec River Bridge
Eureka, St. Louis County

2016 Watched Properties

St. Joseph Livestock Exchange
St. Joseph, Buchanan County

Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge
Hazelgreen, Laclede County

The Henry Miller House
Bloomfield, Stoddard County

The Diamonds Restaurant
Villa Ridge, Franklin County

The Russell Hotel
Charleston, Mississippi County

The Old Calaboose/Jail
Elsberry, Lincoln County

The Superior Well Ticket Office
Excelsior Springs, Clay County

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

Wheatley-Provident Hospital
Kansas City, Jackson County

Houston House
Newburg, Phelps County

The Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church
Lexington, Lafayette County

The Emmaus Home Complex
Marthasville | Warren County


The 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. It is hoped that by listing this campus on the list of Missouri’s Places in Peril that when it comes time to dispose of the campus, that Emmaus Homes will seek to find a reuse for this campus that will preserve the historic buildings located here. 

The Parsons House
Jefferson City | Cole County

Parsons House

This house at 105 Jackson Street in Jefferson City was constructed c.1830, making it one of the oldest houses in Jefferson City. It was home for many years to the family of G.A. and Patience Parson, who purchased the house in the 1840s.  The building has a unique one-story French creole design on a highly raised basement, giving it a more substantial 2-story look, It features double gallery porches on the principal façade. An historic resources survey in 1992 determined the house was eligible for listing individually on the National Register of Historic places, and the Jefferson City Historic Preservation Commission in 1993 designated it a Local Landmark. Long vacant, this house is emblematic of a larger problem in this historic area, where many of the historic buildings – many of them substantial Italianate and Queen Anne style mini-mansions – are owned by a single party who seems to have little interest in either maintaining, redeveloping or selling their many properties along Jackson and Adams Streets and East Capitol Avenue, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places Capitol Avenue Historic District. Historic City of Jefferson and the local Historic Preservation Commission have for the past several years focused their efforts on the issue of neglected historic properties. Our hope in listing this house on Missouri’s historic Places in Peril is that the owner might be encouraged to finally fix up or sell – and that the local government seek stronger and enhanced laws to protect buildings from owners who would practice demolition by neglect. 

Demaree House
House Springs | Jefferson County

Demaree House

The Cornelius Demaree house today is located near the corner of Main Street and Gravois Road (State Route MM) in House Springs. The building was originally a log structure completed ca. 1837. Mr. Demaree lived on the several acre plot with his family until his death in 1857. By 1860 the property was auctioned off in parcels by Dr. George Smith, who marketed these plots as “The Town of Demaree,” claiming that there were already fifteen buildings in the town. According to probate records at the time, these buildings included the dwelling, a stable, a blacksmith shop, and even several well houses. Eventually the Demaree family disappeared from the area and the town re-named for the local House family, which had reportedly been massacred by Osage Indians, The town then gained its present moniker of House Springs. Over the years the Demaree house it has been expanded from pioneer cabin to a two story center hall “I-House” with a columned two-story gallery extending the entire length of the house’s principal façade. This house is important in the history and settlement of this area in Jefferson County. It has been empty and neglected for many years. DEMOLISHED IN 2017.

222 South 4th Street
St. Joseph | Buchanan County

222 S 4th St. Joe

This building was constructed in 1874 for St. Joseph’s first newspaper, The St. Joseph Gazette. The city editor for the Gazette at that time was a famous Missourian, Eugene Field, who went on to become known for his prolific works as “the children’s poet.” Over the years it was used for the sale of agricultural implements, carriages, saddles, tents and awnings, and for a time was used for light manufacturing. The building is a good example of the type of commercial building that made St. Joseph the wholesale mercantile center of the United States during the latter half of the 19th century. During the period of urban renewal in the 1970s, A Victorian commercial building exhibiting Italianate and Romanesque details A city of over 102,000 in 1900, St. Joseph lost about a quarter of its population by the period of urban renewal in the 1970s. During this time it is estimated that the downtown lost over 200 commercial buildings. The building at 222 South 4th Street is a sole survivor on the west side of the block. The current owner of this structure is ready to retire and was offered his asking price by a neighboring businessman if he is permitted to demolish the building. The Historic St. Joseph Foundation has publicly opposed the building’s demolition, and by listing on the Places in Peril, the Foundation hopes to find a preservation-friendly purchaser by the end of 2016. PURCHASED AND IN THE PROCESS OF BEING RESTORED.

Kirksville High School Building
Kirksville | Adair County

Kirksville High School

The former Kirksville High School Building at 411 East McPherson Street in Kirksville is an Elizabethan/Collegiate Gothic style facility erected in 1914. It is the only remaining example of the style known in this northeast Missouri town, and represents the first citywide commitment to public education through the establishment of the first bond issue passed for its construction. The building served as Kirksville’s main high school until 1960, and was the meeting place for the Kirksville Board of Education until 1978. It is of brick and stone construction with reinforced concrete floors. Since being vacated by the School Board in 1978, the building has had several owners, but has not been well maintained. It is currently on the City of Kirksville’s condemnation list. The former Kirksville High School building has been deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2014 the City received a Community Development Block grant for demolition of the building. The grant was not used due to higher than anticipated demolition costs and the owner’s inability to fund the difference. It is hoped that by this listing on Missouri’s Places in Peril, a suitable buyer and developer can be found to repurpose and renovate this building which has architectural merit, possible eligibility for historic tax credits, and a nostalgic place in the hearts of many Kirksville residents. DEMOLISHED IN 2018.

Buster Brown Blue Ribbon Shoe FactorY
St. Louis City

Buster Brown Shoe Factory

The building historically known as the Buster Brown Blue Ribbon Shoe Factory was constructed in 1901 at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Mullanphy Street on St. Louis’s North Side. Designed by H. C. Roach and Son, the factory was built for the LaPrelle Williams Shoe Company. Acquired by Brown Shoe Company, which produced the Buster Brown shoe in 1904, the company continued to operate there until 1940 and finally sold the building in 1955. The Buster Brown character, along with his girlfriend, Mary Jane and his pit bull terrier, Tighe were drawn from a popular comic strip of the time. The building here has a wedge-shaped U-plan, with a curved five-story tower with recessed entry on the principal corner façade. The building has retained much of its original character, including segmental arched window openings, with little of its interior altered since the turn of the 20th century, retaining it integrity of location, design, materials, workmanship, feeling and association. The building is important in the industrial history of St. Louis, the city having been the third leading state in the manufacture of shoes by the early 1900s. As part of Brown Shoe Company’s progressive expansion program in the first decade of the twentieth century, they created specialized factories devoted to a single line of shoes, and the Buster Brown factory holds a significant place in the history of shoe manufacturing, as well as in the socio-industrial development of the City’s near north side period. It is the last large manufacturing building remaining in north St. Louis. This structure is currently endangered by the federal government’s plan to build a new site for its National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) on the site. Its current owner is negotiating a purchase agreement with the City of Saint Louis and plans to relocate the building 600 feet to the south of its current location to redevelop the building into an historic hotel. DEMOLISHED.

Kansas City | Jackson County


The neighborhood we refer to here as “Nelsonhood” includes five houses surrounding the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. They include the Kirkwood Mansion at 4520 Kenwood, as well as other substantial homes at 400, 414, 420, 501-503 and 510 East 45h Street. The Nelson-Atkins Museum is considering expanding its footprint, threatening these historic homes. At the heart of the city’s cultural district, Nelsonhood encompasses some of the city’s quintessential Parks and Boulevards neighborhoods including Southmoreland and Rockhill. The Nelson’s announcement of a conceptual Cultural Arts District plan in June 2014 included the demolition of these four large, architecturally significant homes listed on the Kansas City Historic Register. It is felt that the demolition of these homes would destroy the context of an entire historic neighborhood block. The Nelson-Atkins’s proposal raises concerns once again about institutional expansion that neighborhood residents have repeatedly opposed in the past. It is hoped that by listing here, the Nelson Gallery Foundation will change its expansion plan to one that respects the integrity of the surrounding community.

Kansas City International Airport
Kansas City | Jackson County

KC International Airport

The Kansas City International (KCI) Airport at 1 International Circle in Kansas City was designed by the noted modernist architectural firm of Kivett and Myers and opened in 1972. The unique design reflected Trans World Airlines’ grandiose ambitions and featured an innovative “drive to your gate” design, which allowed for passengers to park nearby and walk roughly 75 feet to any of the gates which were grouped in three round “pods” around the central terminal. This design would come to serve as a prototype for other airports, including the Munich Airport in Germany. The possibility of replacing KCI with a single terminal has been at the forefront of civic discussion for the past several years, but in May of 2016 it was discovered that only 39% of residents supported the new plan, and a public vote for funding the terminal was put on hold. Architectural considerations aside, concerned residents wonder if the quality of construction can be matched in a new facility, and at what cost. Sustainability issues are also a consideration, and the practice of tearing down major facilities every 40 years seems wasteful and imprudent. It is hoped that listing here will increase statewide exposure to the issues at KCI and guide the city toward a realistic and sensitive renovation plan that meets current airline standards.

8th and Center Street Baptist Church
Hannibal | Marion County

8th and Center Baptist Church

The 8th & Center Streets Baptist Church has had roots in Hannibal since the early 1800s. The church is the principal historical landmark of the African American population in this town, the history reflecting “the aspirations and achievements of this group in the face of slavery and segregation.” The site of the present church also has early associations with Blanche Kelso Bruce (1814-1898), a black leader of national prominence in the post-Civil War period.” Kelso, a slave who escaped from Virginia in 1861, established a school here and taught until 1865. He was the first black man so serve in the United States Senate (1875-1881), and became a distinguished citizen and civic leader in Washington, DC. The site of the present church building was purchased in 1853 by several free people of color. The original church faced 8th Street where the current parsonage (1903) sits. A new church was built ca.1872 and remains in use. This substantial building is constructed in the Romanesque Revival style popular at the time. The several stained glass windows in the Church reflect the support of the many African American social and fraternal organizations that came together to build this center of black religious life. Today the church is threatened by declining membership and the means to properly maintain the historic buildings located here. It is hoped that this listing will publicize the plight of this important historic site and result in increased visibility and encouraging both financial and volunteer investment in the 8th & Center Streets Baptist Church.

Westland Acres
Chesterfield | St. Louis County

Westland Acres

Westland 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.

Jackson Street Low Water Bridge
Joplin Vicinity | Jasper & Newton Counties

Jackson Low Water Bridge

The Shoal Creek Low Water Bridge connects Joplin in Jasper County to McIndoe Park in neighboring Newton County. It has been used for nearly a century by residents and visitors and is the most popular drive to Missouri’s Grand Falls within the Park.  In 2015 several public hearings were held locally to discuss proposed construction of a new bridge that would replace this one. The new bridge would reportedly cost two to three million dollars. Opponents of building a new bridge in this location say that a new replacement bridge will spoil the beauty of McIndoe Park, interfere with the Audubon Hiking Trails, reduce property values for nearby homeowners, block scenic views and create more traffic noise. Since low water bridges are obviously built in flood prone areas, it is also thought a new bridge would be impractical. The “save the Low Water Bridge Committee’ was formed in November 2015 to see that the ninety-seven year old bridge is preserved at least for pedestrian use. Citizens involved with the effort to save the bridge are seeking Landmark designation for the bridge from the City of Joplin’s Historic Preservation Commission. The group has also suggested to the City of Joplin that a new bridge could be constructed between the eastern Park boundary and nearby Interstate 44 bridges instead. The group has made a five-minute video about their efforts. They have started a Facebook page as well as an online petition aimed at protecting the existing bridge while calling for a replacement bridge to be built in the alternate location. It is by listing on Missouri’s Places in Peril that the group hopes to obtain at least 5,000 signatures in support of their plan. Access their petition at https://www.change.org/p/joplin-city-council-and-newton-county-save-joplin-s-historic-low-water-bridge.

Old Phillipsburg General Store
Phillipsburg | Laclede County

Phillipsburg Store

Few small town buildings are as iconic as the old general store. The Phillipsburg General Store was constructed in the last years of the 1800s. It survived for many years as one of Phillipsburg’s largest buildings and now has the distinction of being the only historic building remaining in the village. The building also sat next to the railroad tracks, and trains supplied the store with the many provisions needed for the villagers and local farmers. Sugar and flour, crackers and other needed items were bought in bulk and put in sacks to take come. Dolls and garden supplies, tools, as well as rabbits and chickens were purchased in the store and taken home in wagons pulled by horses. In later years the adjacent Route 66 brought many tourists to this tiny town. The upstairs served a variety of the community’s social needs, containing a small theater, an office where a lodge was located and where the Woodsmen of America met, as well as other groups like the American Legion. After the lodges were gone, ladies set up quilt blocks where they constructed quilts for many families in the community. During the 1990s some rehabilitation work was completed on the old store and part of the building was used again for quilting and antique sales. But in the meantime, a building that has been cut off from the railroad and its iconic roadway is in danger. A roof leak in the rear of the building has caused extensive damage to the rear masonry wall, which is in danger of collapsing. By listing here, the nominator hopes to rally local support for the old store building or to attract a buyer that is interested in renovation of this small town icon. Contact the owner: bcbender3@yahoo.com or 417.664.6520

the James Clemens, Jr. House
St. Louis City

Clemens House

Nearly a perennial listing on our Places in Peril, this house, completed 1859-60, was designed by architect Patrick Walsh and constructed for James Clemens, who was a highly successful businessman and cousin to writer Samuel Clemens. The house is listed on the National Register and is a St. Louis City Landmark. This imposing Palladian-style villa with extensive cast iron ornamentation is 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 Carondelet, a chapel addition was constructed, and the property became the Convent of Our Lady of Good Counsel. The Sisters enlarged the property to include a dormitory and a Georgian Palladian chapel, which was designed by Aloysius Gillick and completed in 1896. Beginning in 1949 the buildings were used by a number of Roman Catholic communities and charities, and in 1987 it was sold to the Berean Missionary Baptist Association and then in 2005 to the Universal Vietnamese Buddhist Association. In these recent years, the complex has been used as a homeless shelter and the buildings have received little or no maintenance. A 1984 inspection report suggested that the cast iron used in the façade had become cracked and brittle, allowing water to be trapped behind. The quoins at the corners of the building were reportedly in bad condition, were missing fragments and cracking at the anchor bolts. A conservative price tag for repairs needed at that time was $100,000.00. Since then the building has transferred hands a number of times, the most recent being to the developer of the proposed “NorthSide Regeneration” project. Representatives of NorthSide Regeneration removed the cast iron façade of the house years ago when it was promised the building would be renovated. Since then, even though NorthSide has received millions of dollars in land assemblage tax credits for redevelopment of the area, nothing has been done to preserve or stabilize the house or additions, and the roof of the nearby chapel has collapsed. It is hoped that this nomination will encourage NorthSide Regeneration to complete rehabilitation of the Clemens House and to include preservation as a focal point of its future plans in the NorthSide Regeneration area. BURNT DOWN, POSSIBLE ARSON 2017.

The Phillip Kaes House
Shermann | St. Louis County

Philip Kaes House

The land on which the Phillip Kaes house sits was part of a Spanish land grant to Samuel Pruitt, who was one of the first English-speaking settlers west of the Mississippi. By 1862, most of Pruitt’s holdings had been divided between the Lewis, Kaehs (Kaes) and Coons families. The house was sited on land belonging to the Kaeses. There is still a private cemetery on the property bearing Kaes family inscriptions. The house is designated a St. Louis County Landmark and is now part of Castlewood State Park. It suffers sorely from lack of maintenance. Acquired by the State Parks Department in 1980, one year later the first proposal to pay for its restoration started through the bureaucratic maze. Finally in 1986 $172,000.00 was allocated by the state legislature for the house, but officials shifted money to other needs at the park. In the ensuing years, time has not been kind to State Parks budgets and even though the house was listed in a previous Most Endangered list, has continued to fall into disrepair. This historic site has been held over from previous years as maintenance continues to be deferred and the building crumbles from neglect. It is hoped that this nomination will call attention to the need for increased funding for Missouri’s State Parks and historic buildings that have been acquired into the State Parks system. Local advocate Esther Ziock Carroll has started a petition campaign to encourage the Division of State Parks to take action. Send Esther an email at eziock@yahoo.comto add your name. Put “petition” in the subject line. Read about the petition here: http://carrollscorner.net/KAES_HOUSE_PETITION.htm.

The Bend Road Bridge
Pacific | Franklin County

Bend Road Bridge

Known also as the Withington Ford Bridge, the Bend Bridge was constructed in 1917 by the St. Louis firm of Miller and Borcherding, and has been serving a major crossing of the Meramec River since that time.  It is a Pratt truss sub-type of bridge known as a Pennsylvania through truss, its double spans notable in that they are technologically significant and well-preserved examples of the type. In the 1990s, the Missouri Historic Bridge Inventory identified the bridge as eligible for listing on National Register of Historic Places. At the time the inventory was conducted, Missouri had 17 similar road bridges with Pennsylvania trusses. Today, only three of these bridges continue to carry road traffic: the Bend Road Bridge, the Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana, and the McKinley Bridge at St. Louis. The diminution of this type of bridge in Missouri mirrors the nationwide trend of replacing large truss bridges with modern concrete structures. Although approximately 250 Pennsylvania trusses are standing across the country, only 14 of these bridges have the same features as the Bend Road Bridge, and two of the 14 are likely to be demolished this year. Franklin County officials have pushed to replace the bridge with a modern span better able to handle the growing volume of traffic. Preliminary approval for federal bridge funding ($3.5 million) was given in April 2014. The county is currently acquiring right-of-way to build a replacement bridge in a new location that would eliminate the sharp curves along Bend Road at the current bridge. Construction of the replacement bridge is expected to be commence by the fall of 2017 with demolition of the old bridge soon after. At issue is not whether a new bridge is needed, but whether the old bridge must be demolished in the process. The Magi Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Pacific, would like to adapt the bridge for use by the new Pacific River Walk Trail (www.pacificriverwalktrail.org). When fully completed, the river walk trail will interconnect with the Ozark Trail to the south and the Great Rivers Greenway of St. Louis County to the east. The Meramec River has long represented an obstacle for extending the Ozark Trail to St. Louis, but the refurbished bridge would provide a cost effective answer. DEMOLISHED.

The Route 66 Bridge Meramec River Bridge
Eureka | St. Louis County

Route 66 Meramec Bridge.2

 The Route 66 Bridge over the Meramec River in Southwest St. Louis County was constructed in 1932 and is known as a Warren deck truss bridge, of which only three other examples remain in Missouri. Route 66’s passage across the Meramec River was heavily promoted as a tourist attraction due to the river itself, as well as the adjacent working class resort community known as Times Beach. Although major highway traffic is now carried over the Meramec by the Interstate 44 Bridge, the Route 66 Bridge was incorporated into the boundaries of Route 66 State Park, which opened in 1999.  A Route 66 Museum was opened in a former lodge and road house, which houses maps and memorabilia from “The Mother Road.” Most of the remaining acreage of the park, however, lies across the bridge in what was formerly Times Beach, leaving the interpretive center cut off from most of the remaining park space. Previously one of the most visited State Parks in Missouri at around 250,000 visitors per year, park attendance has dropped since the bridge’s closure in 2009. There is strong support from a number of local and statewide groups to preserve this bridge. Since this is a deck truss bridge, the biggest detriment to its structural integrity has been the heavy weight of the concrete surface above. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has used some of the money in its demolition budget to remove the deck and make the bridge easier to renovate. Missouri State Parks has agreed to assume ownership of the bridge if an endowment of $650,000.00 can be raised by local supporters by the end of calendar year 2016. A GoFundMe page has been established for fundraising at https://www.gofundme.com/Meramec-66-Bridge.

Thank you to our 2016 Places in Peril Sponsors:




Strata Architecture + Preservation
Wallace Engineering