Do you think Columbia is an architectural wasteland?

William Bernoudy – student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Eero Saarinen – architect of the St. Louis Gateway Arch. Boller Brothers and an Paris opera.

These are just a few of the names and reasons cited to dispel the idea that Columbia, Missouri is an architectural wasteland. In case you missed this article by Morgan McCarty in the November 2013 issue of Inside Columbia. The article, “Columbia, The Beautiful,” outlines the architectural finds in Columbia.

I know. I know. We live in the Fly-Over Zone — the area of the country folks from the East and West Coast fly over, only to ask us where we live again and again, sometimes mixing up Missouri with Montana. It is after all, one of “those” M states “out there.”

But sometimes we ourselves perpetuate that myth, perhaps to keep the gem of Columbia to ourselves? I’d love to hear your comments.

At any rate, this article describes the architectural importance of these nine Columbia sites:

  • 1844 Cliff Drive, built by William Bernoudy.
  • 709 West Broadway, designed by Ludwig Abt, also the architect for Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
  • Stephens College Firestone Baars Chapel, designed by Eero Saarinen. Your friends from the East have likely flown past his other claim to fame, the Arch in St. Louis.
  • Missouri Theatre on Ninth Street, one of the few remaining “movie palaces.” The article reports the theatre’s design was inspired by he Paris’ historic Opera Garnier. No need for a long flight to enjoy this beauty, instead, we get to enjoy its 1,000-plus space and newly renovated interior at events scheduled by the University of Missouri, the owner of this 1928 theatre.
  • Memorial Union at the University of Missouri. The article states the combination of two kinds of masonry give it the look of “a Gothic ruin instead of a modern monument imitating a medieval building.”
  • Belvedere and Beverly apartment buildings, designed by Nelle E. Peters. Peters was one of the first women architects, according to this information from the State Historic Society. If you feel like a drive, her work can be seen in the “Literary block,” on the west side of the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. Each apartment is named after a famous author including Mark Twain. Or you can drive down Hitt Street and see her work and even get a peek inside at this website for the both the Belvedere and Beverly apartments.
  • 716 John N. and Elizabeth Taylor House, once a bed and breakfast, it is once again a home. It is in Columbia’s first subdivision, Westwood.
  • Jessie Hall and the Columns, said to be one of the most photographed spots in Missouri.
  • 509 Thilly Ave., an American Craftsman Foursquare.

If these architectural gems aren’t enough for you to cast away those ideas about Columbia as an architectural backwater, what kinds of attractions do you think would make Columbia a bigger draw for our East and West Coast friends — or do you want to keep Columbia our little secret?

I’d love to hear about the sights and sites you’d like spotlighted.

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