Architects Green Space Missouri National Register

Springfield’s Park Central Square Contested

by Michael R. Allen

The Springfield News-Leader reports on the issues surrounding Park Central Square in downtown Springfield, Missouri. Supposedly designed by famed landscape architect Lawrence Halprin but remodeled in the the years since its 1969 construction, the park is at the center of a dispute between city government.  The city wants to redesign the park and preservationists want to restore the original design. The original design, however, is also contested — some claim Halprin was not the architect of the plan that actually was built.

Because the city is using federal funding for their redesign, a section 106 review has been triggered. Section 106 reviews, mandated by the 1966 federal Historic Preservation Act, are administered by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and serve the purpose of determining whether sites impacted by federal spending are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. SHPO’s ruling here could determine what the park will end up looking like. If SHPO determines the park is eligible for listing, and advocates for its preservation can get it listed on the National Register, the city’s plans could be derailed.

Architecture Fire Historic Preservation Missouri

Inn St. Gemme Beauvais Survives Fire

by Michael R. Allen

News of the demise of the Inn St. Gemme Beauvais on Main Street in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, was premature. The historic home was severely damaged by an electrical fire on February 22, leading to reports of total destruction. However, the fire seems to have hit the interior hard but spared the shell of the building. The brick walls are intact, without any collapses, and most of the roof is intact. Windows and doors are charred or stained, and much glass has been broken, but only a few were lost completely. Overall, the exterior is remarkably intact.

The worst damage is on the rear section of the home, where it appears that the roof has partly collapsed.

After the fire, the Colonial Revival style building was boarded up. The roof condition will prevent thorough water infiltration as the owners’ insurance claim is processed. The owner, Janet Joggerst, plans to rebuild and reopen the bed and breakfast.

The Inn St. Gemme Beauvais was built in 1848 by prominent citizen Felix Rozier as his mansion. The home’s rear faced the Mississippi River, and the front faced to the town. Over time, this section of Main Street became commercial in character and the house remained as a counterpoint to the surrounding storefronts, shops and apartment houses.

Photograph by Lynn Josse.
Fire Historic Preservation Missouri

Historic Building in Ste. Genevieve Suffers Fire

Fire gutted the building housing the St. Gemme Beauvais bed and breakfast, built in 1848. Read more here. (Thanks to Andrew Weil for the tip.)

DALATC Kansas City Missouri Missouri Legislature Northside Regeneration Public Policy

Bill Would Lower Acreage Requirements for Distressed Areas Tax Credit

by Michael R. Allen

Missouri State Senator Yvonne Wilson (D-9th), who represents Kansas City, has filed SB 814, a bill that would decrease the size of a project eligible under Missouri’s Distressed Areas Land Assemblage Tax Credit (DALATC). Wilson’s bill would set the minimum project size at 40 acres, with an applicant required to own only 30 of those acres. The credit now requires projects to be 75 acres and applicants to own a minimum of 50 acres.

While there are numerous structural flaws with DALATC, and while 40 acres is still a fairly disruptive project size for urban areas, Wilson’s proposal is a step in the right direction.

Perhaps not coincidentally, reforming the DALATC is one of the planks in the 2008 Missouri Public Policy Agenda for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

Events Historic Preservation Missouri

Statewide Preservation Conference Coverage

I have published a summary of the Statewide Preservation Conference held October 18-20 in Jefferson City over on the new website of Landmarks Association of St. Louis.

Read it here.

Historic Preservation Missouri Salvage

Log Cabin for Sale

From an ad on CraigsList posted in the “materials” section:

1860’s Missouri Log Cabin, dismantled, tagged and diagrammed for sale. Pictures available by request. Original cabin 15X16 with an addition of 15X16, all log. Please respond to

Historic Preservation Missouri

Pelster Housebarn Restoration Ongoing

by Michael R. Allen

Welcome to the Pelster Housebarn, an architectural marvel located in Franklin County, Missouri west of Washington. The housebarn was probably built around the Civil War by William Pelster, a German immigrant. Pelster had already built and occupied a log home nearby. Pelster’s decision to build a housebarn was unusual. Typically the housebarn, which literally combined a farm’s house and barn under one roof, was a transitional structure for recent immgrants who went on to build freestanding homes.

Housebarns were most prevalent in the Midwest and Great Plains. Only twelve remain in the United States. The Pelster housebarn features a tall gabled roof over a fachwerk structure. The fachwerk here combines a structure of pegged rough-hewn timbers filled in with fieldstone. The exterior is clad in clapboard, but some of the walls are exposed in the barn. The housebarn rests on a fieldstone foundation.

The large entrance at the Pelster Housebarn opens onto the threshing floor, reputed to have never been used for its intended purpose. Off of the threshing floor are a granary and creamery. The living quarters were located to the left of the entrance, with a separate entrance off of the porch (restored last year) but with an open staircase in the barn section leading to the second floor sleeping quarters. Livestock was kept on the lower level, accessed through entrances at each gable end. The lower level also housed a fruit cellar. Above the threshing floor was a hayloft.

In 1978, the housebarn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After ownership by the Missouri Heritage Trust (now Missouri Preservation), the Pelster Housebarn became property of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, which is unable to enter the property into the state park system.

Restoration work is thus funded privately, and the Friends of the Pelster Housebarn has been chartered to raise funds for ongoing work. More information about their effort is available here.

Last year’s porch project was a substantial undertaking. More work is needed, including replacement of the non-original tin roof, which is in poor repair.

Photographs by Lynn Josse.

Demolition Historic Preservation Missouri Salvage

Historic Building in Washington to be Recycled – Piece by Piece

Demolition of Old MFA Feed Store Will Begin Monday – Sarah Wienke (Washington Missourian, September 14)

A former lumber mill built in 1865 and located in Washington, Missouri will meet its end starting Monday — but there’s a small silver lining. The owner of the building, most recently used a feed store, plans to salvage every part of the building that he can.

Thanks to Richard Callow for the link.