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Historic districts in sharp contrast

Historic districts in sharp contrast

July 10th, 2013 in News

As the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places moves forward for Jefferson City's Moreau Drive Historic District, the city's Historic Preservation Commission formally expressed its concerns for another historic area.

Following a tour of the unsightly, dangerous and collapsing areas of the Missouri State Penitentiary's historic district, the commission agreed Tuesday that it would do all that it could to inform the public of the endangered state.

As the roof membranes have weakened and disintegrated in the last nine years since inmates vacated the prison, hundreds of gallons of water have poured through these buildings resulting in growing mold threat, structural damage and growing holes throughout the ceilings and floors.

"It's not going to last another ten years," said Commissioner Mark Schreiber, an expert on the prison.

The three buildings of most concern are the oldest standing building A Hall; B and C Hall, which stands across the upper yard from A Hall, and H Hall, which faces Lafayette Street.

"A building is only as good as its envelope and these are in real jeopardy," Schreiber said. "If those three are gone, there won't be anything to show people - you should just put up a plaque and forget it."

In contrast, historian Lynn Josse gave a brief presentation on the Moreau Drive Historic District nomination and invited commissioners to attend the Aug. 9 formal presentation to the state Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Homeowners within the suggested district should have received notice about the Aug. 9 meeting as well.

The Moreau Drive neighborhood is historically significant for its architecture and its use of community planning, Josse said. The district's approximately 310 resources span from the 1847-built Edwards House to about 1950.

In other business, the commission:

• Welcomed 5th Ward Councilman Larry Henry as its new council liaison and Mary Chance as the newest commissioner.

• Approved 14 applications as part of the Section 106 review process.

• Agreed to review documentation and then call for a special meeting to further discuss the plight and future of the prison's historic properties.

• Learned that met or exceeded the expectations of a recent Certified Local Government review.

• Voted to try going "paperless" for commissioner meeting agendas and packets.