Most Notable Properties

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.


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

Interactive Map of Local Historic Properties

Looking to uncover some information about local historic properties? Interested in developing your own historic property walking tour?

The Historic Preservation Commission maintains an interactive map of the City’s “Most Notable” and National Register properties, landmarks and districts! Click here to check out the map today!

interactive map screen shot

2015 Most Notable Properties Program- Applications Requested from the Public!


Since 1998, the City’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) has been recognizing Most Notable Historic Properties.  These properties are at least 50 years old, located within the City of Columbia corporate limits, and have architectural or historical characteristics which contribute to our City’s social and/or aesthetic resources. They may be endangered, derelict, recently restored, or nicely maintained. They may be modest or grand, hidden away or in public view. Stephens Stables, Columbia’s Brick Streets, the Blue Note, Ragtag Cinema/Uprise Bakery, Booches, Wabash Station, the Tiger Hotel, and Frederick Douglas High School are some of the 140 recognized Most Notable Properties.


What does it mean to be a Most Notable Property?

Application Process:

Applications are due (or post-marked) by Friday, November 21 at 5:00 PM. Applications may be mailed, dropped off, or emailed.

Community Development Department, City of Columbia, 701 E. Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201 or

Click here to download a printable application form.

For more information, please contact the Community Development Department at: (573) 874-7239

Past Recipients: 

Most Notable Properties 2011

Most Notable Properties 2012

Most Notable Properties 2013

Most Notable Properties 2014

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for weekly updates on HP topics!

2014 Most Notable Properties

The City of Columbia will soon be hosting the 2014 Most Notable Historic Properties event! The Historic Preservation Commission invites you to join them in recognizing five notable historic properties and the property owners preserving them on April 1. The reception begins at 6:30pm in the lobby of the Historic Daniel Boone Building, 701 E. Broadway. The recognition program will begin at 7pm. RSVPS are appreciated.

Listed below are the five most notable historic properties of 2014.

Fairview Methodist Church-1320 S. Fairview Road

            Fairview Methodist Church began in 1899 when founders J.B. Turner, J.P. Turner, and W.P. Smith decided that their community needed a church building. They all chipped in and with the help of donations they were able to build the church, which was dedicated on June 30, 1901. It was named “Fairview” by early church member Lochie Turner Martin, because “it looked so pretty sitting up on top of the hill like it does.” This Church, located at the intersection of Fairview and Chapel Hill, became the namesake for those two roads as the City of Columbia began to grow to the south and west.


The original church was built using vernacular architecture, a style of architecture based on local needs and construction materials, and reflecting local traditions and building practices.

It burned to the ground in September 1940 due to an overheated stove. Only a few seats, the piano, and the pulpit were saved. Church services were held at a nearby school until a new church building could be built.


The new building, a concrete block structure, reflecting the recent lesson on the flammable nature of wood, was dedicated on July 5, 1942. The replacement structure, which is constructed of fireproof concrete blocks, includes interior finishes that were installed by a member of the congregation, James Dorsey Grant with help from Emmet Maxwell. The Grant family has a long connection to the property. James Dorsey Grant’s son, Robert E. Grant, still helps operate the cemetery, and his father, Elijah Grant, owned a farm directly across the street from the church for decades.

In 1959, members again came together to build the front steeple and bell tower. The bell installed in the steeple was originally in the Methodist Church in Ashland, Missouri.

As the congregation grew, a campaign for a newer, bigger building began. Construction began in 1969 and the congregation worshiped in the new building for the first time on the last Sunday of August 1970.

The congregation sold the property to Rex and Carol Nothbohm, who opened the Countryside Nursery School there in 1979.


Now on its second owner, the Countryside Nursery School has had more than 3,000 students over the years. It is one of the longest operating day care facilities in the city.

While the interior of the building has been modified from its original ecclesiastic purpose, the exterior remains highly intact today. Other examples of adaptive reuse in Columbia’s historic inventory include Ragtag Cinema (formally the Coca Cola Bottling Co.) and the Blue Note, which was once the Varsity Theater.


Fairview Cemetery- S. Fairview Road at Chapel Hill

Fairview Cemetery began in 1914 when Elijah Grant, Dorsey Grant, Roy Grant, and J.A. Buffon, all of whom lived nearby, decided to found the cemetery on October 31, 1914.


It was a common tradition to bury family members on your own property but it became less and less popular as the years went on, and country church cemeteries began to flourish in Boone County. Other historic cemeteries in what is now the city limits of Columbia include the Jewell, Columbia, and Calvary cemeteries.

The founding members bought the small piece of land behind the church and divided it in lots that they sold for $7.50 a piece with eight grave sites in each lot. (That would be $160 per lot today.)


The cemetery is still active today and holds the history of many families, including the Grant’s.

Lee School1208 Locust

Lee School was constructed in 1934 and is one of the oldest elementary school buildings in Columbia. It is only seven years newer than the oldest public elementary school, Thomas Hart Benton Elementary School, in the city to continuously operate at the same site.


The original Lee School was built in 1904 at the corner of Waugh and Locust Streets, just west of the current building. It was opened in order to create more room for Benton and Jefferson Schools, the only other white elementary schools open at the time. The original four-room Lee School building was filled to capacity within a few years, prompting a large addition in the early 1920s. This addition was still unable to house enough students and by the 1930’s it was once again crowded as well as outdated.

In the 1930’s, the school board was able to take advantage of the federal public works program, which allowed for the construction of a large new professionally designed building on the lot next to the older school. It was one of several New Deal construction projects that took place in Columbia during the Great Depression. New Deal programs, which were developed by President Franklin Roosevelt to increase employment and lessen the impact of the Depression, funded public works projects across the country. Other New Deal historic properties in the city include the National Guard Armory and the Ellis Fischel State Cancer Hospital. (A complete list of Columbia’s New Deal buildings may be found here.)

The new Lee School was one of more than fifteen New Deal construction projects that were completed in Columbia during the Great Depression. The programs had a particularly strong impact upon educational facilities in Columbia; 12 of the 15 known local New Deal projects involved the construction of buildings for the University (Townshend Hall, Walter Williams Hall, and Ellis Library’s Northwest Addition are a few) and Columbia’s Public School system.

This plaque displays the schools year of erection and many important contributors and information including the president, vice president, builders, and architects.


The prominent St. Louis architectural firm of Bonsack and Pearce designed Lee school. The firm began to emerge during the 1930s that specialized in school building architecture. They designed a number of New Deal funded schools across the state. They have been credited with at least 13 educational buildings in Missouri, including three in Columbia—the new Lee School, and large additions to Ridgeway and Douglass Schools.

The design of Lee school was based on the Collegiate Gothic style, which began in North America in the 1800s. Other schools designed with this same style include Princeton University and Washington University in St. Louis.

Pike, Francis, House-1502 Anthony


This East Campus giraffe rock house was built in 1939 for local historian Francis Pike, one of Columbia’s most significant historians in the last half of the 20th century. Francis Pike was an employee of the Columbia Daily Tribune for 75 years; he authored several books as well as a popular history column called “Mid-Missouri Memoirs.” He was president of the State Historical Society of Missouri and a long-time member of the Boone County Historical Society. He was also a Mizzou graduate of the 1932 Journalism school.

Francis Pike brought the stones used for the exterior walls from southern Missouri. The house was built in the Tudor Revival style and offers a rare local example of a native stone construction method that is often referred to as “Ozark Rock” or “Giraffe Rock.” Architecturally, the house offers an interesting combination of refined Tudor Revival styling and vernacular masonry. The steeply pitched roof, arched porch openings, and ornamental half timbering of the gable ends are common elements of the Tudor Revival style, which was popular for houses in many parts of the country from the late 1910’s until around 1940. The next Most Notable Property, 905 S. Providence Road, shares this architectural style.

Buildings of the Ozarks region of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas inspired the stonework used on the Pike house walls. Ozark Rock construction features undressed stone, or rock, generally used just as it came from the field. This distinctive method developed in the Ozarks, where rock was often more plentiful than farmland. Streets of Ozarks towns are often lined with modest rock buildings that were built in the early part of the 20th century. Although still familiar locally, Ozark Rock is much less common this far north, and only a few examples can be found in Columbia. The highest concentration may be seen on, and in the vicinity, of Jewell Avenue.

Thornton, Bessie, and Dr. J.E., House-905 S. Providence Road

            This Tudor Revival style house was built for Dr. James E. Thornton and his wife Bessie W. Thornton in 1926. Dr. Thornton was a local physician who served on the Columbia Board of Education in the 1910s, and as a trustee and college physician for Stephens College in the 1920s.


This house was one of the first plat buildings to be completed in the Grasslands Addition to Columbia. The Grasslands Addition plat was created by the Rollins family, on land originally owned by G. B. Rollins.  It was named for his farm, Grasslands, which included hundreds of acres at one point. The Grasslands Addition was laid out by nationally renowned planning firm Hare and Hare, and soon became a residential neighborhood of choice for prominent Columbians. The standard of houses in the Grasslands was very high and were all built to a high architectural standard in order to create a unified appearance. These restrictions were set to make the addition the most beautiful residential district of Columbia.


The Thornton family moved into the house in 1927. However, Mr. Thornton died that same year, not living to enjoy the new house. Mrs. Thornton moved away soon after, but kept the house as rental property. One of the first tenants was another doctor, Claude R. Bruner, who later purchased the original G.B Rollins family home, which is located just a few doors north of this property which is now the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, a 2010 Most Notable Property. In the late 1940’s, the Thornton house was purchased by Dean Parks, the owner of Parks Department Store, which was a thriving downtown business for several decades in the mid 1900s.