Three places in St. Louis metro are put on list of 10 endangered historic places in state of Missouri

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Missouri Preservation announce their 2020 Places in Peril yesterday. This list is comprised of 10 endangered historic places in the state of Missouri, nominated by concerned individuals. Three of which are in the immediate St. Louis metro, five of which are in the FOX2 viewing area.

Here is the 2020 List:

Historic Homes of Ava in Ava, MO (Douglas County)
The town of Ava has many historic homes that prospered during the railroad years. One of the homes in Ava that is at-risk is one of its oldest, originally the home of Rev. George R. Curry at 403 North Fleetwood Street. Today the, 2-story home still stands, but shows signs of “significant disrepair”, with rotting wood siding, broken windows, and a collapsing balcony. The inside has fallen victim to vandalism. Until recently, the home was slated for demolition. Another home, the Basil Vernon Spurlock Home (constructed in about 1940) at 203 West Garfield, is in need of help. The beautiful example of native Ozark rock masonry is deteriorating much like the Curry home. “The nominators hope that these two dwellings’ designation as Places in Peril will encourage subsequent owners to rehabilitate these properties, retain their historic details, and help set a precedence for future preservation and rehabilitation of the many historic homes in Ava.”

The former Stonner Meat Market in Chamois, MO (Osage County)
The old Stonner Meat Market is two-story brick building in historic downtown Chamois and is one of the few historic structures built in the 1800s still on Main Street. The original business sold locally raised butchered meats. Eventually, the building was converted to Lucy’s Bar and Grill. The building is currently vacant and has been vandalized causing deterioration to accelerate. “With limited resources available, it is hoped that listing the property as a Place in Peril will open the door for funding opportunities to preserve this historic building. Doing so will allow the property to remain a focal point of downtown Chamois and highlight important aspects of the town’s history.

The Olivia Apartments in Joplin, MO (Jasper County)
Once known as “handsomest apartment house in the west,” the five-story structure was designed by Austin Allen, finished in 1906. The Olivia operated until 2006, until the city deemed in unsafe. Since being vacant the building has deteriorated with vines weakening the brick and mortar. Vandalism has made things worse. There is not a current demolition order pending, such an action has been suggested to the City of Joplin’s Building Board of Appeals. “Supporters hope that designation as a Place in Peril will encourage the owner to sell the building to a proactive and preservation-minded developer – one who will return the Olivia Apartments to their former glory.”

Moberly Junior High School in Moberly, MO (Randolph County)
Parts of the Moberly Junior High School were constructed in 1917and 1930 to replace Moberly’s first high school constructed on the same parcel in 1895.  It is one of Moberly’s oldest schools and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. The building was designed by local architect Ludwig Abt. Like many vacant properties, the school is in bad shape due to no maintenance over the years. “The Moberly community strongly supports preservation and believes this property has great potential for rehabilitation – whether for housing (as previously planned) or another use.”

Old Phillips 66 Gas Station in Greenfield, MO (Dade County)
The old gas station functioned as such until the 1980s, but has transformed into several businesses including the Chamber of Commerce, nail salon, as well as BBQ and hot dog stand. Current owners are not able to take care of the property, but do not want it demolished. The property has been vacant for four years with maintenance needed. The city wants to see repairs or it will be torn down. “This tiny Greenfield landmark needs a champion to help the current owners restore it to its original glory, retaining what has been – and hopefully will be – a centerpiece in Greenfield for generations to come.”

Historic Resources of St. Charles in St. Charles, MO (St. Charles County)
St. Charles serves as the first capital city in Missouri, known for it’s Historic Main Street, which still features many historic landmarks and popular festivals. Many places have been restored, but many are in need of TLC. North of the heart of the downtown area is the Frenchtown Historic District, which has seen less commercial success than main street. The Short Boarding House at 1425-1427 North 2nd Street is one of these structures. Vacant for over 25 years, neglect has taken its toll and issues include a hole in the roof and crumbling brick. Larger preservation issues within the city have become more prevalent within the years, as efforts are being made to ignore and undermine the Landmarks Board. This group is responsible for assessing impacts the the historic districts. There is a risk of decisions made to support the interest of politics and development, not preservation. While the city council rejected disbanding the Landmarks Board, St. Charles might face issues in the future. “Nominators hope that this listing will not only encourage all historic building owners to address maintenance issues, but also make the general public more aware of the issues facing the Landmarks Board and St. Charles’ future outlook towards preservation.”

Missouri State Penitentiary Walls in Jefferson City, MO (Cole County)
The Missouri State Penitentiary is no longer in service, but the wall surrounding the former prison still stands, which is the oldest standing structure in Jefferson City, as it was built between 1833 and 1835. Inmates used to carry out maintenance on the walls. Twenty years ago maintenance was recommended, but never completed. More recently in May of 2019 an EF3 tornado ripped through the Capitol Avenue Historic District, causing a large section of the wall on Capitol Avenue to crumble. There is also the threat of redevelopment in the MSP area. While the idea of redevelopment is considered good for the community, many would like to maintain the history. “Advocates for the Missouri State Penitentiary Walls hope that listing the property on the Places in Peril will help publicize the threat and prevent the structure’s removal, allowing it to be incorporated into future redevelopment plans.

Karpeles Manuscript Library in St. Louis City, MO
The Karpeles Manuscript Library in St. Louis’ historic Compton Heights neighborhood was originally the Third Church of Christ, Scientist in 1911. In 2015, the building was acquired by the Karpeles family known for establishing 17 museums across the country. The St. Louis Karpeles Manuscript Library opened in August of 2015. Soon thereafter, in March 2019 a fire swept through the building damaging the the building severely, but the building could be repaired. Initially the owners announced repair plans, but no final plans were ever completed and today, the building is in peril. The roof remains open to the elements, furthering deterioration. “It is hoped that listing the Karpeles Manuscript Library as a Place in Peril will increase awareness for the precarious condition of the structure and encourage the current owners to either move forward with rehabilitation or initiate an active search for new ownership.”

Bay Mercantile Company in Village of Bay (Hermann), MO (Gasconade County)
The Bay Mercantile Company is a three-story commercial building with an attached 2-story residence dating to 1856-57, The property was expanded to its current size in the 1870s by Simon Boeger. The buildings are good examples of Central Missouri’s stone masonry. When Scott Ruffner purchased the property in 2012 there was significant deterioration from exposure and deferred maintenance. Scott helped repair the storefront overhang and addressed leaks in the roof. He worked on many of the windows and shutters, and prepared the metal roof for painting; all of the repairs were funded directly by Scott. Tragically, Scott unexpectedly passed away in May 2017. Family members created the Scott D. Ruffner Trust. In 2018, trustees approved funds to paint the metal roof, preventing further deterioration. Much of the stone façade requires repointing — including removal of unintentionally harmful patch-jobs done with improper materials that create additional problems. The structure’s finished interior is immense and needs extensive work to make up for years of deferred maintenance. “It is hoped that designation as a Place in Peril will help raise awareness for the project, bring in donations and open up funding opportunities. We further hope to catch the attention of professionals who would be willing to volunteer time and expertise, ultimately fulfilling Scott’s dream of restoring the Bay Mercantile Company.”

Rolla Division of the Bureau of Mines Headquarters in Rolla, MO (Phelps County)
In 1920 the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy opened. 27 years later new headquarters were completed in 1947, destroyed by fire in 1948, and rebuilt as a Georgian Revival style building in 1950.  For many years the Bureau worked closely with the University to develop advancements in mining and metallurgy that worked to improve the nation’s metal and mineral industry. In 2000, the University gained ownership of the property. In 2015 six BOM buildings remained on campus. While the headquarters building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017, the University demolished three of the six standing BOM buildings shortly thereafter to create space for new residence halls. The BOM Headquarters is now in peril as the University has recently decommissioned the building and rendered a and master plan that will remove the structure. Two additional remaining BOM buildings adjacent to the headquarters will also be demolished. Currently there is no known organized effort to preserve this building and it is likely that the community is not yet aware of the University’s intentions. It is hoped that listing the building as a property in peril will bring attention to the threat. Raising public awareness will hopefully build advocacy for the retention and adaptive reuse of the BOM Headquarters.

Former St. Augustine Catholic Church “Project Augustine” in St. Louis City, MO
The parish of St. Augustine was founded in 1874 to support the growing number of German Catholic immigrants in St. Louis. In 1896 construction was approved of the Gothic Revival brick church at 3114 Lismore, to replace the original church. The new church was considered a ‘prestigious example of German Catholic Achievement’. The church was designed by German-born architect Louis Wessbecher. In the mid- 20th century the neighborhood began to decline. The property was purchased in 1982 by Christ Baptist Church, which sold the building to the Last Awakening Outreach Center, which utilized both the church until 2014. Afterward, the church sat vacant until February 2020, when a non-profit organization, Project Augustine, purchased the property. While Project Augustine hopes to restore the church and repurpose the space as a community center, there is much work to do. St. Augustine is in peril due to theft, vandalism, and decay that occurred during the time that the church was vacant. Current estimated cost for repairs is estimated as $10 million. The goal is to raise sufficient funds to stabilize the building from further deterioration by repairing the roof and securing the structure. “Project Augustine hopes that by listing St. Augustine as a Place in Peril, they will garner the attention needed to raise funds for preservation and attract donated materials and services. More information on Project Augustine and how you can help can be found at projectaugustine.org.”

In addition to new list, Missouri Preservation invites individuals to explore the interactive map, which pinpoints past-listed places, and lists their known status from successfully saved, in-progress, needing help, and lost. To view the interactive map click here.

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