Historic house demolished at 307 West Gay Street
Residence dates to 1900 [The Daily Star-Journal, Warrensburg, MoBy Cynthia Nold, The Daily Star-Journal, Warrensburg, Mo. McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
The Drawing Room LLC bought the house 3 weeks earliers.
By STEVE GANEY
Photos submitted by SHARON MILLER
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — Warrensburg lost a little piece of history on Wednesday. A house built just after the Civil War located in the old town of Warrensburg was demolished.
The house, at 307 Gay St., was built in the 1870s by a Warrensburg merchant named Archibald Gilkesson. Lisa Irle, curator of the Johnson County Historical Society, said Gilkesson opened a general store in Warrensburg in 1856, and built the house some time in the 1870s, but the actual year is uncertain.
Another notable resident of the house was Carrie Nation, the radical activist in the temperance movement of the early 1900s known for destroying barrels of alcohol with a hatchet. Nation had attended the Normal Institute in Warrensburg to earn a teaching degree in the 1870s and lived in the house some time later. Irle said the exact dates when Nation stayed there are unclear.
In the last few decades, the house had been converted to apartments and rented out. In recent years, the house laid vacant, fell into disrepair and eventually went into foreclosure.
“That house has been a topic of conversation over the years,” Irle said. “It’s sad, but sometimes they just get to the point where you can’t save them.”
Next door neighbors Sharon and Don Miller said they were sorry to see it go. The Millers have lived in the property next to the historic house since 1968.
“It’s very sad. It’s part of the original Warrensburg,” Sharon Miller said. “Especially because five years ago, that house could have been restored.”
The Drawing Room LLC, a local Warrensburg entity, bought the property three weeks ago. Wendell Davis, a member of the Drawing Room LLC, said he inspected the home and had a cost analysis to see what it would take to restore the home.
“We were looking at $275,000 to $300,000. For that property, it just was not economically feasible,” Davis said. “We did not want to tear it down. I’m a big history buff and my wife cried a little. We’re sorry to see it go, but it’s what we had to do.”
Davis said he plans to build another house on the land, hopefully beginning construction before the spring but it depends on the weather.
“We’re going to put up something nice. Nothing dumpty,” Davis said. “We thought about building a duplex and renting it out, but we’re pretty settled on building a nice home there for somebody. I’ve been taking a look around, and we’re trying to get something that blends with the look of the neighborhood."