Committee discusses preserving Dix house

A man with a dream of growing a vast orchard, L.V. Dix bought 80 acres far west of the Capital City in 1867.

The log cabin Dix initially built for his family of seven was replaced by a brick four-square home built in 1918 by his son Charles Dix.

An application for demolition was not approved for that nearly century-old home by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission Tuesday.

The Public School Retirement System of Missouri recently bought the nearly two acres, where the good condition home sits at 3221 North Ten Mile Drive.

The owner allowed interior photos to be taken, a component the commission would like to make a requirement for all future applications.

The commission saw potential in the home and directed inspector Dan Davis to remind the retirement system officials of the home’s historic significance to the community. Commissioners hope the owner might consider alternatives to demolition, such as adaptive reuse.

The home’s architecture is similar to many “kit” homes built in the early 20th century, Davis said. But this home retains much of the original interior character, he said.

In addition to architectural significance, the commission noted the Dix family’s importance to early Jefferson City history.

According to Gary Kremer’s Heartland History, today’s Dix Road was named for L.V. Dix, because it passes through what had been his second family property along West Main Street.

The Dix Orchard business — known best for its apples — grew so much that by 1935, more than 10,000 fruit trees covered 65 acres of Dix land and yielded more than 9,000 bushels that year.

On the family property, Charles Dix also opened Dix Dairy — with 80 milking cows and eventually specializing in cream production for local restaurants — which closed in the late 1940s.

Dix Nursery, a full-service nursery specializing in roses, opened on that same site in 1950 by Charles Dix’ daughter Mary Julia and her husband Mahon Smith. That business closed within the last year and the retirement system has acquired that 2.2 acres, as well as an adjacent 1.3 acre property along Truman Boulevard.

In other business, the commission directed chairman Ed Meyers to meet with the mayor to advance its inquiry with the state’s Office of Administration regarding the preservation of the Missouri State Penitentiary’s most historic buildings.

The commission sent a letter inviting representatives from the state’s office of administration to this October meeting. Although no one showed, commissioner Doug Nelson’s response letter said he was open to discuss options.

Meyers will lobby that adequate coverings, permanent or temporary, are a necessity for the historic quadrant buildings, which recently were closed because of mold issues.

The commission noted that if the roofs were taken care of, that should help with the mold remediation.

The commission was encouraged that the city, which passed a resolution Monday night, and state legislators are discussing the issue.

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