McBaine Avenue, West Ash Street, West Broadway, and West Boulevard surround what is known as the Garth Addition, a neighborhood filled with early 20th century housing. Jefferson Garth, a notable Columbia, Missouri citizen, originally obtained this parcel in 1836 from William Jewell. Most of the homes located within this addition still retain their historical integrity, making the area as a whole appear somewhat unaltered by the changing times. In 2005, the Historic Preservation Commission received a grant from the State Historic Preservation Office to commission a survey of the area’s properties. The Garth’s Addition Historical Survey was submitted in June of 2006. The purpose of the inventory is to determine the eligibility of the neighborhood and its properties to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. The survey also provides a historical narrative useful for understanding the influences and character of the neighborhood (this information is presently being used in the development of a Neighborhood Plan for the West Central Area of Columbia). There are 241 properties in the Garth’s Addition, with at least 14 having lost their integrity due to significant modifications, or are less than 50 years old, thus not adding to the historical character.
At the turn of the 20th century, this area was still considered rural. After Jefferson Garth purchased the area, he turned it into a 600-acre farm, which in the 1880s partly became located within the suburbs of Columbia. By 1917 it was subdivided approximately in half into smaller lots for individual housing. The construction of the homes within the addition suggests that it was very middle-class in character.
The surveyed area mainly contains homes built between 1925 and 1955. The three most common styles in the addition are Craftsman, Tudor Revival, and Ranch styles, though there are also findings of American Foursquare, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and Dutch Revival homes. The Craftsman-style Bungalow is the dominant architectural style of the neighborhood. This style was very popular in the US between 1905 and 1930 during the Arts-and-Crafts movement, which looked more towards local workmanship and protested industrialism. The bungalows found in the addition are mainly brick and of moderate size with gable front plans and prominent porches supported by tapered piers and/or brick and stucco posts. The larger styles seen on Anderson and Greenwood Avenue in the area feature large overhanging eaves, wide porches, sloping rooflines, and multi-pane, colorful glass above windows and doors.
The Tudor Revival style became popular in America in the early-to-mid twentieth century through the introduction of balloon frame construction, which was most affordable at the time. Many of the homes in the neighborhood featuring this style were built between the 1930s and early 1940s. This style features exterior finishes with concrete stucco, half timbers in the gable fields, multi-sash leaded casement windows, large exterior brick or stone chimneys, arched windows, and vertical plank doors. The Ranch style, constructed in the neighborhood between the 40s and 60s, in which the area was already established as a residential district, replaced the bungalow as the most common housing style in America after World War II. These homes feature low-pitched rooflines, picture windows, and often an attached garage wing. Most of these homes can be seen west of Aldeah Avenue.
The Colonial and Dutch Revivals can be found throughout the addition as well. The Colonial became popular in the late 19th century and into the early 20th century with the Dutch Revival popularized in the early 20th century. The Colonial features elements of Greek, Federal, and Italian influences with an emphasis on symmetrically placed windows and doors. The entrances of these homes are of classical surrounds with pediments, columned porches, and sidelights/transoms. Gabled dormers and Palladian windows are also found in this style. Dutch Revivals can be recognized by their gambrel roofs with entrances similar to that of the Colonial Revival and Craftsman-style homes. Another early 20th century residential style found in the neighborhood is the American Foursquare. This home is known for its unmistakably square plan resting on a solid foundation of brick or stone. Typically two-and-one-half stories, it features a hip roof and hipped roofline dormer, usually with one at each elevation. The porch is either centrally featured or a wraparound.
Last but not least, the most ornate architectural style of home found in the Garth’s Addition area is the Queen Anne. Though this is the least common style found in the addition, its heavy embellishments, decorative millwork, and turrets help it to really stand out. Popularized by rapid industrial growth and development during the late 19th century and into the turn of the 20th century, builders began to gain easier access to inexpensive and machine-made materials due to the railroad quickly transporting goods to local markets. These ornate homes also feature wrap-around porches, patterned masonry, stained glass lights, and ornamental gable and porch details.
As previously stated, most of these various architectural style homes are still in great condition and still reflecting their historic period of construction. An option to help continue the Garth Addition’s reflection of its early days, according to the survey, may be identifying the area as a historic district and seeking National Register of Historic Places listing. Other options for neighborhood stability and promotion may be explored through the neighborhood planning process for West Central Columbia, which is underway in the early spring of 2015.
Though not all homes in the area retain their integrity, the majority still suggest their original construction. If homeowners in the area do wish to improve their properties they are recommended to adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards of Rehabilitation. Guidelines for modification to older homes can be found at: http://www.cr.nps.gov/hps/tps/tax/rhb/.