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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Missouri Preservation: State's Most Endangered Historic Sites in 2013 (PHOTOS)

Posted By on Wed, May 29, 2013 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge The Book House. - VIA
  • via
  • The Book House.

What historic properties in Missouri are most likely to face demolition? The Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation has released its annual list of the state's most endangered sites, which this year includes the Book House, a beloved store in Rock Hill that recently got its eviction notice as developers look to tear down the structure to make way for a storage facility.

"This is a way to call attention to endangered historic resources statewide," Holly Peterson, administrator for Missouri Preservation, tells Daily RFT. "What is in the most imminent danger of either being demolished or is just in very terrible condition? How historic is the nature of the building and would it make a huge difference if it wasn't able to be saved?"

The group announced the most at-risk properties last week at the Henry Miller House, a historic site in Bloomfield that is on the 2013 list.

The purpose of the list, Peterson says, is to raise awareness about the properties that need help and to try and boost the local efforts to save them. "Sometimes, they are in need of support in city council. Other times, it's about finding an owner -- somebody who is willing to come in and purchase a property and renovate it."

The group has been doing these lists since 2000, typically unveiling them in May, which is National Preservation Month.

Here's the 2013 list. (All photos courtesy of unless otherwise noted. The list is loosely organized based on geography, not on any particular ranking. As noted in this post, the historical summaries come directly from Missouri Preservation.)

9. The Phillip Kaes House Sherman, St. Louis County


Via Missouri Preservation:

The land on which the Kaes house sits was part of a Spanish land grant to Samuel Pruitt, who was one of the first English-speaking settlers west of the Mississippi. By 1862, most of Pruitt's holdings had been divided between the Lewis, Kaehs (Kaes) and Coons families. The house was sited on land belonging to the Kaeses. There is still a private cemetery on the property bearing Kaes family inscriptions. The house is designated a St. Louis County Landmark and is now part of Castlewood State Park. It suffers sorely from lack of maintenance. Acquired by the State Parks Department in 1980, one year later the first proposal to pay for its restoration started through the bureaucratic maze. Finally in 1986 $172,000.00 was allocated by the state legislature for the house, but officials shifted money to other needs at the park. In the ensuing years, time has not been kind to State Parks budgets and the house has continued to fall into disrepair. It is hoped that this nomination will call attention to the need for increased funding for Missouri's State Parks and historic buildings that have been acquired into the State Parks system.

8. The James Clemens House City of St. Louis


Inside the Clemens House, published here with permission via local blog


Via Missouri Preservation:

This house, completed 1859-60 was designed by architect, Patrick Walsh and constructed for James Clemens, who was a highly successful businessman and cousin to writer Samuel Clemens. The house is listed on the National Register and is a St. Louis City Landmark. This imposing Palladian-style villa with extensive cast iron ornamentation represents one of the most intact antebellum mansions in the St. Louis area. After the death of the illustrious owner in 1888, the house and furnishings were sold to the Sisters of Carondelet, a chapel addition was constructed, and the property became the Convent of Our Lady of Good Counsel. The Sisters enlarged the property to include a dormitory and a Georgian Palladian chapel, which was designed by Aloysius Gillick and completed in 1896.

Beginning in 1949 the buildings were used by a number of Roman Catholic communities and charities, and in 1987 it was sold to the Berean Missionary Baptist Association and then in 2005 to the Universal Vietnamese Buddhist Association. In these recent years, the complex has been used as a homeless shelter and the buildings have received little or no maintenance. A 1984 inspection report suggested that the cast iron used in the façade had become cracked and brittle, allowing water to be trapped behind. The quoins at the corners of the building were reportedly in bad condition, were missing fragments and cracking at the anchor bolts. A conservative price tag for repairs needed at that time was $100,000.00. Since then the building has transferred hands a number of times, the most recent being to the developer of the proposed "NorthSide Regeneration" project. Representatives of NorthSide Regeneration removed the cast iron façade of the house years ago when it was promised the building would be renovated. Since then, nothing has been done to preserve or stabilize the house or additions, and the roof of the nearby chapel has collapsed. It is hoped that this nomination will encourage NorthSide Regeneration to complete rehabilitation of the Clemens House and to include preservation as a focal point of its future plans in the NorthSide Regeneration area.

Continue for more historic sites in danger in Missouri.

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