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Around the Columns

Honoring historic homes

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A home at 211 Westwood Ave., built in 1911, was selected as one of the Columbia Historic Association’s most notable properties in 2008. Photo by Nicholas Benner


This year’s edition of the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission’s most notable historic properties list features 10 public and private buildings, half of which have ties to current or past MU faculty.

Judith Goodman, associate professor and chair of communication science and disorders, lives at 211 Westwood Ave., one of the notable properties. Her home, built in 1911, has had only four owners in the last 97 years.

Theo Irion, dean of the College of Education from 1930 to 1946, and his wife, Edith, owned the home from 1930 to 1972. After her husband’s death in 1952, Edith opened an art gallery in the home and used the proceeds to fund two scholarships in the College of Education. “Mrs. Irion collected paintings, glass, antique silver and figurines from Europe for the gallery,” Goodman says, reading from Edith’s obituary in the Aug. 16, 1972, edition of the Columbia Missourian.

In order to be nominated, a property must be 50 years old, home to a historical figure, built by a well-known architect, or have some other historical or architectural significance. Properties are nominated in October or November by commission members and through applications on the City of Columbia’s Web site. Commission members then vote to select the final list.

Goodman thinks the selection process must be difficult. “There’s block after block of notable properties [in Columbia],” she says. Other properties with MU ties include:

• 509 Thilly Ave.: Lincoln Hyde, professor emeritus of bridge engineering, and his wife, Emma, commissioned the home in 1910. The foundation is made of limestone from the same site as the stone used to construct White Campus buildings.

• 511 Westwood Ave.: Edwin Branson, chair of the geology department in the early 1900s, and his wife, Grace, built the house in 1923. The interior and exterior decorative features incorporate wrought iron shipped from New Orleans.

• 2011 N. Country Club Drive: A.W. McAlester, who helped develop MU’s School of Medicine, built the house as part of a 160-acre farm.

• 2007 S. Country Club Drive: Barry McAlester, son of A.W. McAlester, built the home in 1927. The McAlester crest presides over the living room, and the dining room features original hand-painted wallpaper.