Author: HPC Liaison

Sponsored by the Historic Preservation Commission of Columbia, Missouri, the blogs posted are created and maintained by the historic preservation city staff liaison.


S. Glenwood Street, a brick paved street, in Columbia, MO

S. Glenwood in Columbia’s Old Southwest neighborhood was saved from being paved over with asphalt by residents. It was repaired in the 1990s and remains in excellent condition today.

S. Glenwood in Columbia’s Old Southwest neighborhood was saved from being paved over with asphalt by residents. It was repaired in the 1990s and remains in excellent condition today.

Did you know that the City of Columbia’s brick streets are more than 100 years old? And that most of the red clay was sourced and manufactured within a 50 mile radius?

Join the Historic Preservation Commission and professional engineer Patrick Earney next Saturday afternoon (October 15th) at 2:00 PM to learn more about Columbia’s historic brick streets, and how they fit into the historical narrative and urban fabric of Downtown Columbia. The walking tour will focus on architecture, people, places, the evolution of building practices and materials, and so much more!

This event is free and open to the public (and is family-friendly). No registration is required.

Participants will meet at the City Hall Key Sculpture (corner of 8th & Broadway/701 E. Broadway).

This tour will begin promptly at 2:00 PM and will last roughly one hour plus time for questions. Participants are advised to wear comfortable shoes and clothing.

For special accommodations, or for more information, please contact City Planner Mitch Skov at 573.874.7243.


Quirky Locals Tour: Saturday, November 21st, 2015.

The Quirky Locals’ Tour is here.  Join us Saturday noon, at Ragtag Cinema, for the season finale of our 2015 Downtown Walking Tour Program.
We begin with a short film at noon, and then take to the sidewalk for a leisurely stroll of about an hour’s length.  Enjoy Columbia’s character and history from a new perspective.  The walk will be less than a mile, and include several stops both indoors and outdoors.  Dress for the weather.
Hope to see you there.
November 21, 2015
12 noon
Inside Ragtag Cinema

Quirky Locals Tour: Saturday, November 21, 2015. Meet at Ragtag Cinema (10 Hitt Street) at 12:00 PM (Film to being promptly at noon).

All events are free, open to the public, and family-friendly. No registration is required. For more information, please call Planner Rusty Palmer at 573-874-7394 or email


Don’t forget to like our Facebook page!

Vocabulary of Architecture Walking Tour: Saturday, November 7, 2015.

Did you know root of the word architecture is the Greek arkhitekton (“master builder”)?

This makes sense because the ancient Greeks were very skilled at architecture — from columns to stadiums and temples. Over time, the vocabulary of terms, according to the Getty Trust, for describing fine art, architecture, decorative arts, archival materials, and materials and methods of construction has grown to over 125,000 terms. Join the Historic Preservation Commission and local architect Sara Loe to learn more about the Vocabulary of Architecture in Columbia’s Historic Downtown District!

Vocabulary of Architecture: Saturday, November 7, 2015. Meet at the City Hall Key (701 E. Broadway) at 10:00 AM.

All events are free, open to the public, and family-friendly. No registration is required. For more information, please call Planner Rusty Palmer at 573-874-7394 or email

Ghosts and Scary Tales Walking Tour October 28!

Ghosts TWHistoric Preservation Commission Historic Walking Tour on Ghosts and Other Scary Tales

Wednesday, October 28 at 6:00 PM. Participants will meet at the Columns on the Francis Quadrangle (University of Missouri Campus).

Join the Historic Preservation Commission for a Historic Walk emphasizing the ghosts, urban legends and dramatic fires that have impacted downtown’s history over the past 125 years. Be prepared for some surprises and unexpected twists and turns. Parental discretion is advised as some stories may be quite scary For special accommodations, please contact Rachel Bacon at 573.874.7239 or

All events are free, open to the public, and family-friendly. No registration is required. The best way to know about upcoming events is to follow the Historic Preservation blog via email or like our Facebook page: and


Upcoming Tours:

Vocabulary of Architecture: Saturday, November 7, 2015. Meet at the City Hall Key (701 E. Broadway) at 10:00 AM.

Quirky Locals Tour: Saturday, November 21, starting from inside Ragtag Cinema (10 Hitt Street), Time Noon.

Niedermeyer Apartments – 920 Cherry St.

The Niedermeyer Apartments built in 1837.

The Niedermeyer Apartments were built in 1837.

If you have lived in Columbia, Missouri for a number of years, you more than likely have heard or read about the Niedermeyer Apartments at 920 Cherry St. Situated in downtown, among the many 19th and 20th century brick buildings home to various restaurants and establishments, sits an L-shaped structure older than the University of Missouri! A 25-foot-by-40-foot structure built on the lot in 1837 would become the Columbia Female Academy owned by General Richard Gentry. With emerging popularity came an expansion to the building including a 2nd floor and the L-shaped addition for which the building is known for. By the 1850s, trustees of the academy formed the Baptist College, which later became known as Stephens College. With the rise in success of Stephens, the Columbia Female Academy closed its doors. Over time the building has reportedly housed Union troops at points during the Civil War, been leased to MU for use as the Department of Domestic Science (home economics), and most popularly been a hotel.

Undated photo of the building's past.

Undated photo of the building’s past.

The 3 main hotels, including the Gordon, that were once in Columbia.

The 3 main hotels, including the Gordon, that were once in Columbia.

The building became known as the Cottage Hotel in 1895 and later the Gordon Hotel, which was the first hotel to have steam heat in Columbia. Frederick W. Niedermeyer didn’t stake his claim in the building till 1897 when the Cunningham family sold their interest for $6,500. Niedermeyer and Gordon worked throughout the coming years to add wings to the south and west sides of the building, thus giving the structure its current appearance. If you know that the Niedermeyer Apartment building was once a hotel, then you more than likely know that Mark Twain once walked its halls. On June 3rd, 1902, members of the Phi Kappa Beta Society held a dinner in the meeting room of the Gordon in Mark Twain’s honor. He was to receive an honorary degree from MU the following day. According to an article published on June 6th, 1902 in The Columbia Missouri Herald, Twain’s speech “kept the audience in a constant roar of laughter, which reached at times the explosive stage.”

News article about Twain's speech at the Gordon Hotel.

News article about Twain’s speech at the Gordon Hotel.

By 1911, Niedermeyer became the sole owner of the building, and by 1921 the place was reopened as the Niedermeyer Apartments. Remaining in the hands of Niedermeyer’s family for the next several decades, the building wouldn’t come into a compromising position until 2013 when it was slated for demolition. Collegiate Housing Partners, a development firm out of St. Louis was under contract to purchase the building and replace it with a new student-housing complex as tall as 15 stories. When a long-standing, historically important building is threatened by new development, it isn’t uncommon for there to be many who oppose the idea. Countless Columbia citizens, including those on the City Council, past and present tenants, and simply those who have walked past the building and cherished its presence, voiced their disapproval and fought to keep the Niedermeyer intact. The Historic Preservation Commission actively sought to find a private buyer in order to save the building from demise, while also recognizing the structure at their 2013 Most Notable Property Event. The event helped to further emphasis just how important the Niedermeyer Apartments are to the city. Collegiate Housing Partners eventually caught wind of the aversion felt by numerous citizens. In response, the firm backed away and soon came in contact with Nakhle Asmar, the building’s current owner. Asmar is a Jefferson City resident, professor and head of the Mathematics Department at MU, and owner of Ginger C. LC, which owns 37 other properties throughout north and central Columbia. After talking with Collegiate Housing Partners and fully realizing the significance of the Niedermeyer, Asmar eventually purchased the building, saving it from demolition. He says of the experience, “[The Niedermeyer] came my way, and I thought if I could save it I would.” Owning a building with such exciting history and significant value to the community as this one wasn’t something Asmar had ever truly though of doing. Yet a series of events landed the Niedermeyer right in his hands, and the opportunity of maintaining this historical gem was one that couldn’t be passed up. One could have said the building was again safe and sound, but according to Asmar, that statement couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

The Niedermeyer Apartments were in for some serious renovation work to ensure the building’s safety. Thinking back to first purchasing the building, Asmar remarks, “When I was touring the building I thought ‘Oh my.’ It was full of combustible things; you know, like old mattresses. I mean junk, junk, junk!” The previous owner had held onto the building for roughly 40 years and had done very little as far as maintenance goes. Four guys and one week later, the building had finally been cleared of debris. The renovations could commence. Asmar was immediately concerned with the safety of the building and concentrated on securing it first and foremost. The electrical was all redone which allowed for a much-needed upgrade to the plumbing in which a sprinkler system would be installed. The porch, significant to the building’s social aspect, was completely restored. Before it was rotted away so severely that it seemed it would collapse at any moment. The windows are currently being replaced by large, double insulated, energy efficient ones, and the apartments are being completely upgraded unit by unit. Asmar emphasized the bathrooms as a priority. The pipes were clogged beyond repair, therefore they had to be cut and completely replaced so that there would be adequate water pressure. The flooring throughout the building has to be redone and as Asmar observed of the building in general, “Most everything did.”

The main entrance to the Niedermeyer Apartments. To the right of the picture is the entrance to the apartment containing the Gordon Hotel's lobby.

The main entrance to the Niedermeyer Apartments. To the right of the picture is the entrance to the apartment containing the Gordon Hotel’s lobby.

Original mailboxes to the apartments.

Original mailboxes to the apartments.


Stairs going up to the 2nd floor.

The biggest project currently facing the building is an addition of several units to the 3rd floor, plus a fire escape with a staircase. The west wing’s attic space has yet to be finished. When considering this area of the building, Asmar says, “It bothers me [from a safety perspective] that you have an area of the building where it is down to the studs.” This space was previously used as storage and was home to the numerous mattresses Asmar and several others had to haul to the dumpster. The apartments in this space will be outfitted with upgraded, high-quality features and interiors. The new drywall plus the upgrades will help to make these once vacant spaces feel brand new in a building that is far from that.

According to Asmar, a lot of the inside has been modified throughout the years, and with just one walk through the building it’s not hard to comprehend this. The bathtubs, some lighting fixtures, and the architecture may be original for the most part, but other than that, much has been changed along the way due to the building’s multiple purposes since its foundation. Various carpets cover the hardwood floors throughout the halls, and the wood banisters have been painted over multiple times. It’s simply a matter of bringing the building back to its roots while still maintaining the functionality demanded of present day apartments. One tenant has helped in doing just that to her own unit. Linda Libert has rented the studio unit right off the front entrance for many years, her son recently residing here. She was one of the many who vigorously fought to save the property. Libert not only enjoys the apartment’s convenient location, but she also hated to see a valuable part of Columbia’s history be torn down. Not only is Libert’s unit famous for being carved out of the Gordon Hotel’s lobby, but the University of Missouri has a photo of Mark Twain leaning against the brick fireplace that still stands in the middle of the unit’s living space. The floors have been redone with Libert’s help in a walnut color and the walls are exposed brick. She also repainted the kitchen, which had been painted in subtle shades of pink and purple by the previous tenant. A unique feature of the space that surprisingly still works is a call button used for bellboys. This is located behind the fireplace and presumable behind what used to be the hotel’s front counter. It is unique features such as this one that reminds those of the building’s treasurable past. Central air was recently installed in this unit and will be installed in the other units as they receive renovation work. Libert continued to point out other original features of the building such as the front entry’s hanging light fixture and the left front door’s glass embellishment inscribed with the letter “N.”

Original front doors and glass for the Niedermeyer Apartments. The one on the right was broken.

Original front doors and glass for the Niedermeyer Apartments. The one on the right was broken.

Light fixture in the front entry, original to the building.

Light fixture in the front entry, original to the building.

It has been 2 years since Asmar purchased the building, and he says that it will be roughly 2 more until the building will be near a finishing point. Much work goes into repairing a building of this age, especially when it hasn’t been consistently maintained throughout the years. However, regardless of the long-term renovation work, the apartments still have a waiting list. People love to live in the Niedermeyer Apartments despite its overall lack of brand new, luxury amenities. Current and future tenants appear to value the history and culture of the building over the renovation work, which always has the potential of being troublesome to every day life. Asmar remarks of the work, “People appreciate what we are doing there so they work with us.” It’s not just the tenants who appreciate the work being done. It’s those who fought to save the building and it’s those who still have the opportunity to walk past the white brick and green roofed structure that truly has stood the test of time. It’s also the future generations who will have a chance at living here and building friendships with fellow residents on the beautiful wraparound porch. It’s true what Asmar says, “You can’t help but really fall in love with the building.” Walk through the wide halls, catch a glimpse of the fireplace, or stand on the front porch looking out into downtown Columbia and it’s hard to deny the draw this building has on those who come in contact with it. The Niedermeyer has surpassed all other downtown Columbia structures in age, and there is no doubt that it will continue to do so for many, many years to come.


The back of the building where the courtyard is.

The back of the building where the courtyard is.

Part of the front porch where residents hang out on beautiful Missouri days.

Part of the front porch where residents hang out on beautiful Missouri days.

113 West Blvd. N. – Part II (The Interior)

Last time we talked to Patrick Earney, the addition to his 1940s Tudor-inspired home was nearly finished. The addition provided extra living space transforming the home from a 2-bed 2-bath into a 3-bed 4-bath. As Earney explained to me, extra bathroom space was much need as there are three females in the house (two of them being teenaged girls). The home was renovated with its history in mind. Earney spared no expense when transforming the exterior and interior. Not only did he take time to hunt down period light fixtures to incorporate throughout the interior, but he also reused parts of the home and salvaged material from other structures to keep with the home’s era. He admits to compromising on some functionality to ensure that the addition did not stand apart from the rest of the original construction.

Walking through the deep blue front door and into this 1,350 sq. ft. structure, you can tell that Earney put much time and effort into expanding his historic home. Off of the kitchen is the new mudroom and through that, the powder room, which used to be part of the back yard.

The powder room off the kitchen.

The powder room.

The walls are painted a vibrant tangerine with white ceramic tile coming half way up the wall. The floor tile draws your attention with its pearly sheen. Multiple pieces of this room came from other places around Columbia that were slated to be demolished. The toilet came out of a dentist office and the beautiful window came from another home in Columbia. The light fixture above the window is just one of the many pieces Earney found on Ebay. Earney’s clever reuse of materials and dedication to period pieces doesn’t stop here.

Moving into the kitchen, the original 1939 farmhouse sink catches the eye. Below it are the original metal cabinets, which Earney painted bright red. Earney and his friend, who is a custom cabinet builder, built all the other cabinets, which are of a light mint color. The kitchen is small but functional and of course, anything but cookie cutter.

The kitchen with the powder room in the background. Here you can see the 1930s sink and metal cabinetry.

The kitchen with the powder room in the background. Here you can see the 1930s sink and metal cabinetry.

At the top of the stairs to the right is the entry to the master bedroom, bathroom, and closet; all of which are nestled on top the garage. The entry to the bedroom used to be an entry to a deck located on the roof of the garage. The door that originally lead to this space is now being reused as a door to the home’s patio and backyard.

The master bedroom addition.

The master bedroom addition.

The Historic Preservation Commission has a large inventory of salvaged materials that are available to the public, and they hope to start holding public sales soon. Due to space limitations, the areas on either side of the bed were not tall enough to include a nightstand and lamp. So to accommodate this issue, metal sconces were added to each sidewall as reading lights. However, these are no ordinary reading fixtures. Also found on Ebay, these lights are nearly a century and a half old and of French design. Still containing the original glass, they were rewired and used to fit the needs of Earney and his wife.

1870s French fixture, which Earney found on Ebay.

1870s French fixture, which Earney found on Ebay.

The master bath is painted the same color as the downstairs bath with the same flooring, wall tile, and fixtures. The paned window is frosted to allow for privacy and the shower is spacious with a clear glass door as to make the space feel larger. The entry door is pocketed to allow more space in the bath and bedroom. The closet is walk-in with its own window, and a built-in laundry chute adds unique appeal.

The master bathroom.

The master bathroom.

The home’s original bathroom and other two bedrooms are located on this floor as well; now occupied by his daughters. One bedroom is painted a bright yellow and Mizzou themed, and the other was the original master bedroom, making it spacious for a 14-year-old. Both are beautifully decorated to suit each daughter’s personal taste.

In all, the addition took 12 months to be completed inside and outside. The expansion of space has improved the family’s life due to no longer being “piled on top of each other…” as Earney says. As for future renovation plans, Earney has intentions of building a new oak front door due to the current one warping and changing with the seasons. The original siding on the front gable will be refinished as well with the current aluminum siding taken off. He also has wood storm windows to finish and put on, and the living room will be repainted and the cracked plaster will be fixed to freshen up its appearance.

The living room off the home entry.

The living room off the home entry.

The dining room. Earney creatively hid return air ducts behind the paneling detail in the corners of the room.

The dining room. Earney creatively hid return air ducts behind the paneling detail in the corners of the room.

Just gazing at the exterior of this home, it’s nearly impossible to tell that it has been added on to. Earney says of matching the brick on the back of the addition, “I scoured the world of brick to find this brick that kind of half way matched.” The brick on the front is brick that he took of the original north wall, thus adding to the flawless cohesion of the addition and original structure. With careful attention to detail and meaningful dedication, Earney has successfully transformed his 1940s Tudor Revival home into a more functional space for he and his family to live in and enjoy.


The before and after.

The back of the addition.

The back of the addition.

2015 Most Notable Property Event @ The Missouri Theatre

This year’s Most Notable Property Program was held at the Missouri Theatre in downtown Columbia. The ornate features of the 1928 theatre made for a beautiful surrounding. Lavish appetizers and sparkling punch, provided by the University Club & Catering, along with cupcakes by the Velvet Cupcake, were held in the Grand Foyer with the main event proceeding in the Locust Street Lobby. Posters of the Most Notables were displayed on a table before guests entered the ceremony space. The main event began with a short video highlighting the honorees. Special thanks go to the talented producers at the City Channel for putting the film together. The video was followed by introductions of the preservationists by Historic Preservation Commissioners. Awards were accepted as the recipients gave short speeches regarding their time and experience with the property. Overall, the event went off without a hitch and there was a wonderful turnout of approximately 85 people.

The Grand Foyer

The Grand Foyer


Posters of the 2015 Most Notables

The Locus Street Lobby

The Locus Street Lobby

This year’s honorees are as follows:

Hugo and Lucy Vianello for their work on the restoration of the Missouri Theatre. ca. 1928.

Special recognition as “Most Notable Preservationists” was given to the Vianello’s for their decades of work preserving the Missouri Theatre. By the 1980s, the theatre had been vacant for many years and in need of repair. Realizing the fragile state the once premier “Movie Palace” for the city of Columbia was in, the Vianello’s wrote a check to serve as earnest money, and began working with the Missouri Symphony Society (MOSS), who purchased the theatre, and the Women’s Symphony League to return the pre-depression era theatre back to its original form. It reopened as a symphony hall in 1988 and by 2008 the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts was fully refurbished and reopened with help from MOSS, in which the Vianellos were active participants. The property was sold to the University of Missouri in 2014 and continues to be the home of MOSS. Thanks to the Vianello’s dedication to the restoration of this Midwestern gem, many have and will continue to enjoy the theatre’s beautiful baroque rococo-style features.

Hugo and Lucy Vianello

Hugo and Lucy Vianello

Accepting their award at the event

Accepting their award at the event

Brauer, George P., House located at 213 S. Glenwood. ca. 1916.

This Colonial Revival style home is one of the many built by John A. Stewart who played a major role in the development of the Old Southwest, as it is known today. The home is remarkable in that it has seen relatively few changes over the years. Notable historic features include the exterior porches, hardwood floors, original millwork in most rooms, and a mid-century kitchen with enameled steel cabinets. The home was originally sold to George P. Bauer in November of 1916 though there is no evidence of him actually living there. Dr. Dan G. Stine, an MU graduate and an associate Professor of Medicine at the University in the 1910s and 1920s, rented the home in 1917. By 1922, Dr. Ben and Mrs. Linna E. Vaughn were the home’s owners until they sold the property to Frank E. Dexheimer in 1930. The Dexheimer family lived there for over two decades and then sold it to Truman and Edna Tracy in 1952. Their children sold the property in 2000. With as many owners as the home has seen, its historic features inside and out still remain surprisingly and beautifully intact.

4-29-15 097 - Copy


Property owners Peter Vallentyne and Marie Helene Pastides accepting the award for 213 S. Glenwood.

Charters, W. W. and Jessie Allen, House located at 600 S. Glenwood. ca. 1914.

Located in the Westwood Addition, platted by John A. Stewart, is the home originally built for the Dean of the University School of Education, W. W. Charters and his wife, Jessie Allen Charters. Though the Charters only lived there for a short time, the home has since proven to be a favorite by its owners. It has always been owner-occupied and lived in by each for at least a decade. The Charters sold the home to Arthur and Illma Meyer in 1917 and by 1930 the couple sold it to Dot and Bessie Sappington who lived there till 1941. Later owners include the LeMone family and the Eastmans. Currently, Del and Kay Robertson live at the property and have spent a majority of the past 20 years improving the home and surrounding grounds. The home’s condition at purchase, in the mid-1990s, was very poor due to being hit twice by lightning resulting in a leaky roof. Instead of accepting advice to raze the property, the Robertsons dedicated their efforts to restoring many of the most significant interior spaces and upgrading the exterior of the home. Outside, a large front porch was added and the original wood shingle and clapboard siding was repaired and repainted. Inside are original wood floors, doors, and other millwork that have been restored. Other notable historic features are a formal vestibule at the front entrance, a foot-operated buzzer in the dinning room, and a built-in ironing board in the kitchen.

April 13, 2015 015


Property owner Del Robertson accepting the award for 600 S. Glenwood.

Frederick Apartments located at 1001 University Avenue. ca. 1928.

Across the street from Mizzou’s campus sits one of the largest early 20th century urban apartment buildings in central Columbia. This four-story Classical Revival was one of the first apartment buildings to offer middle class housing in a multi-unit setting. Many who originally lived here were owners of local businesses or faculty of the area’s colleges. The apartments were built by F. W. Niedermeyer as a memorial to his eldest son First Lieutenant Frederick W. Niedermeyer, who served as a pilot during World War I and died during a military fight in March of 1925. FREDERICK is inscribed over the top of the front doorway and a stylized version of Air Service pilots’ wings is featured on the arched pediment over the same door. David Frederick (Fred) Wallace designed the building while living in Independence, Missouri with Harry Truman, his brother-in-law. Frederick Apartments was recently rehabilitated, which included updates of interior finishes and exterior masonry repairs, all while preserving the building’s most important historic characteristics. Restoration included uncovering and restoring the lobby’s marble flooring and installing custom-made apartment entry doors, which match historic doors. Most of the original millwork, including the wood floors and small paneled delivery doors in the halls, were retained and restored.

Frederick BnA001


Nancy Cooper, joined by her son, accepts the award for the Frederick Building. The Frederick Building, at 1001 University, is owned by Jay and Courtney Burchfield, Nancy Cooper, and Dr. David & Barbara Payne.

Hubbell Place Addition located at the 100 block of Hubbell Street. ca. 1909-1945

Within one block on the northeast edge of downtown Columbia, lies a collection of early 20th century houses. John M. Hubbell, who spent many years in the grocery and dry goods business and later worked as the business manager of the Columbia Daily Tribune, originally platted the addition in June of 1909. This land had been in his family for decades. His parents, John Price and Anna Marie Hubbell purchased two-thirds of this city block in 1875, which became Hubbell Place. The Hubbell Place Addition included 7 lots facing E. Walnut Street, thus creating Hubbell Drive that runs perpendicular to Walnut and contains 11 small house lots. The first house to face Hubbell Street (now 103 Hubbell) was built by Mrs. Anna Hubbell, the widow of J.P. Hubbell. Hubbell Drive saw a flurry of construction between 1926 and 1928 as nine houses were built. All of those houses are relatively modest Craftsman style bungalows of similar size and form. 108 and 112 Hubbell were the final two houses built in the subdivision in the 1940s. Since then, the street has seen little change.

overall hubbbell


From left: HP Commissioner Debby Cook watches as Hubbell Drive property owners Sabrina Garcia-Rubio, Diana Howland, Mara Aruguete, Peter Bartok and Glenn Rice accept the award from Commissioner Pat Fowler.

**Research regarding the preservationists and historic properties is credited to Deb Shields
**Photos of the properties credited to Deb Shields

2015 Most Notable Property Program

The City of Columbia Historic Preservation Commission invites you to join them in recognizing this year’s Most Notable Properties on Monday, May 11th, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby of the historic Missouri Theater (203 S. Ninth Street). Light refreshments will be served. The public is encouraged to attend this free event.

Historic Preservation Commissioners will present this year’s award winners. A video presentation of the five historic properties and the preservationists will follow. The winners have also been encouraged to bring memorabilia connected to their property to be displayed at the event and will have a chance to speak following the presentation.

Come on out and celebrate this year’s winners with us!

RSVP appreciated: 573-817-5006

Aldeah Avenue – Arts & Crafts Style Bungalow

At the end of Aldeah Avenue you will find a modest grey-toned bungalow with a red front door. Stick around long enough and you may just see a beagle named Wyatt run out into the front yard to greet you. Avid bikers and DIYers Carrie and Jonathan are the owners of this 1926 bungalow. It doesn’t take long after sitting down with these two to grasp their appreciation for its history and the strong love they keep for their home.

Their home now with Wyatt hanging out on the new front walkway

Their home currently with Wyatt hanging out on the new front walkway

Horace and Ruth Wren were the original builders. At the time the home was valued around $4000. Horace was the owner of The Recreation Barber Shop located in downtown Columbia. Sadly though, a few years later in 1935 the Wrens were forced to move from their home due to the affects of the Great Depression causing Horace to lose his business. From there on out after the Wren’s lost the home, the bungalow became a rental property and later switched to owner-occupied. Before Carrie and Jonathan purchased the bungalow in April of 2012, the home had been flipped quickly and cheaply without much consideration of its history. Overlooking the work needed to return the home to its original form, the two fell in love with the bungalow. Carrie remembers thinking that the place was the cutest when they bought it, though they look back now and consider, “What were we thinking?” They find it hard to comprehend what they saw in the bungalow with the contrast of how it looks now.

The house before

The house before

Neither Carrie nor Jonathan have ever renovated a home before. Jonathan has helped others with renovations but never to this extent, and Carrie, who previously held the position of Director of the District, has a great love of historic preservation. Both aspire to bring back the character of the bungalow through close attention to historical detail.

The home upon purchase wasn’t in terrible condition. The foundation had already been addressed and the home in general had been kept up fairly well. However, cheap vinyl siding in a hue of mint green covered the exterior and the rooms ranged from shades of light pinkish-grey to deep blues. Jonathan, with a sigh says about the move in condition of the home, “The bones were good.”

Carrie says the main focus when renovating their home has been about “respecting the history of the house and respecting the era of the house.” Early on in the renovation process, much of their focus went towards picking out proper colors for the exterior and interior. They looked to Sherwin Williams Arts & Crafts colors when deciding. After going through an online poll between Carrie and Jonathan’s two paint choices, and having their friend Photoshop their home to “test out” the colors, they finally decided on a Bunglehouse Grey for the body of the home. It took them roughly six months to decide on the color and about four days for the home to be painted. That is the type of dedication these two have when it comes to renovating their historic home. No detail is overlooked.

About a year in, the home was landscaped with help from Carrie’s father. The electrical was also a very concerning issue shortly after moving in. Jonathan, having experience in wiring, took over when it came to fixing this situation. The breaker box was outdated and lacked the capability for additional breakers to be added. After fixing the necessary electrical issues and potential gas problem due to a flexible copper pipe, the two made one of their first big investments. Hardie board shingles were installed in the gable on the front of the home. Before, it was covered in grey cheap siding that didn’t go with the home’s era whatsoever. The shingles were staggered to add a more whimsical appearance while still keeping with the historic element.

The shingles in progress

The shingles in progress

The front walkway was also redone in April of 2014 due to the bricks being uneven with weeds growing in between. New steps to the front porch were added after the old ones caved in around Thanksgiving time. The back patio with its brick, gravel, and slopping cement was also given much needed attention. The screened in porch in the back was redone with half of it becoming a seating area and the back half occupying their collection of bikes.

Carrie and Jonathan try to take on as much of the renovation work themselves as they possibly can. Carrie remarks of their DIY efforts, “How much can we actually do on our own?” In response to that, I would say a lot. The home is welcoming upon entry, with furniture suited to the size of the rooms and a color scheme of earth tones, all in keeping with the era of the Arts & Crafts bungalow. The doorknobs, previously being dysfunctional cheap brass plates with glass knobs, have been replaced with oil rubbed bronze plates and knobs, still distinctive of the time period. Even all the light switches and outlets match the hardware. Outside on the front patio and back patios you will find unique lights designed by Old California Lantern Company. This company, located in Orange, California, specializes in Arts and Crafts style lights that are made by hand. The lights, being hand crafted, stand out. They are not mass-produced but made with dedication to the craft. Carrie and Jonathan are all about craftsmanship. Carrie says of the lights, “Back when bungalows and arts and crafts were big you would have artisans who did this stuff, and now you still do.”

The front porch light from Old California Lantern Company

The front porch light from Old California Lantern Company

The back porch light

The back porch light

It’s not just the historic aspects of this home that makes Carrie and Jonathan love where they live so much; it’s the neighborhood as well. On Aldeah, the homes were designed with the neighbor in mind, demonstrated by the alignment of the porches. Jonathan says they can stand on their porch and easily talk to their neighbors on either side of them. He comments on the neighborhood, “You can’t get away with not knowing your neighbors,” and that’s especially true when you share a driveway. Long lasting friendships have been created due to the closeness of the homes. They know basically everyone on their street. Aldeah is lined with bungalows and homes older than 50 years. It appears that the people of this neighborhood truly care about the history of the area and seem to want to maintain it properly. It’s sort of like a historic treasure in a society that always strives for the latest, newest thing.


Figure 13. from Garth Addition survey. More info on this addition may be found here!  

Carrie and Jonathan love their home with a great passion. They are aware that it is small with only 900 square feet, but they feel that they have all they really need. In response to having a larger home with unnecessary space and rooms, Jonathan made the remark, “I mean I would have rooms dedicated to stuff, and when I say stuff, I mean like… bears. A bear room. I would have a grizzly bear in a room. “ Carrie responds with, “Oh Wyatt would like that.” They are happy with their cozy bungalow and they should be. Their renovations thus far have changed the home from quick-fixer-upper to beautifully redone bungalow. The Wrens would be proud.

For more information regarding the bungalow, visit Carrie and Jonathan’s blog at!

Carrie and Jonathan

Carrie and Jonathan

** Pictures were taken by the property owners and can be found on their blog.

** Currently a neighborhood plan is in progress for this area which includes Aldeah Avenue. The City of Columbia’s neighborhood planning process helps neighborhoods identify their specific needs and priorities helping to guide future development and redevelopment. Additional information concerning this planning effort may be found here!