Historic Selmo Park, Warrensburg Missouri
UCM President's Home
Torn Down 2015
Selmo Park, the president's residence and reception center at University of Central Missouri, has a rich and proud history.
|Selmo Park, UCM, Warrensburg, Missouri|
Above- From the excellent book - WARRENSBURG AND JOHNSON COUNTY by Carol Berkland, Herb Best, Lisa Irle, Arcadia Publishing
excerpt from true story of
"Looking For Jencey The Life of Lizzie Elnora Murphy Casebolt"
I am saddened to read the headlines about Selmo Park being demolished in 25 days.
Selmo Park is a valuable piece of Warrensburg and Missouri state history.
Selmo Park’s destruction should not happen. As a Realtor, and one who appreciates history and old homes, I am having trouble accepting this act of destruction.
I have lived here over 50 years and have seen many homes razed for progress, but we have a preservation group in our city plan and this should be saved. It is such a beautiful home with such rich history for this area.
I know the renovation costs to keep Selmo Park would be significant; however, the historical value is worth even more and this mistake should be reconsidered.
April 20, 2015
Going, going, gone
Google “Selmo Park.” It is the last you’ll see of that beautiful mansion at UCM in Warrensburg, Missouri. It was built in 1866, was designated a Missouri Historic site in 1962, and was the home of the president of the college (now UCM) for many years, including 19 years that my family and I lived there. The university’s Board of Governors decided that it wasn’t worth renovating the old house, and as I write, it is being torn down by a demolition company, which is doing it for $30,000. It is painful to see the photos of the house in its demolition-inprogress.
Thank goodness I am not there to watch.
Some things were salvaged, the 1951 wrought iron around the front of the house among them (my mother never liked that wrought iron – thought it was ostentatious).
But I wonder what happened to the fireplace hand-painted ceramic Dutch tiles that my mother chose, and the red Belgian glass around the front door, and the black walnut and dark oak hardwood floors, and the carved walnut and cherry closet doors, and the bricks from the old Normal School that replaced the old wooden porch floors?
And I wonder if the voices of past lives echoed through the rooms when it all turned to dust? I remember my twin brothers, teenagers at the time, racing/clambering up the stairs to beat each other to their room. And my sister studying, sometimes all night in the library downstairs, or writing her poetry by the light of the moon. And all of us sitting in the twilight on the front porch, talking and laughing and waiting for the night insects to urge us inside. And my grandmother, sitting by the fire, her hands busy knitting coverings for new babies’ feet. And my mother planning receptions for the hundreds of students who on special occasions crowded the house with their parents in tow. And my father, working in his office on campus sometimes even on Sunday, taking care of the college, writing his speeches, making trips as educational consultant to various countries.
And the music: all of us diligently practicing; Dorothy’s flute, George’s cornet, John’s cello. I began writing music in that house. It was an inspiring place to live.
On college campuses it is the beautiful old buildings that are the centerpieces. They are taken care of during their lifetimes, renewed, treasured. If my father had been there he would have, with my mother’s encouragement, seen that the old house was kept in good condition and useful into the next century. I doubt that “Bunky” would have prevailed.
Emma Lou Diemer, Santa Barbara, California
Demolition begins at UCM’s Selmo Park
by Andy Lyons, Editor-in-Chief
Demolition plans for Selmo Park at the University of Central Missouri began today following the UCM Board of Governor’s approval of a $30,000 contract with Red Rock Construction in February. Work began on the site today and is expected to be finished by April 30, according to an email from Jeff Murphy, assistant director of media relations at UCM. The decision to begin this week coincides with UCM’s 2015 spring break.
The decision to demolish Selmo Park, which has been home to the University’s president Chuck Ambrose, was made following a Board of Governor’s decision to not move forward with a projected $2 million in repairs to the structure. The property assessment was conducted in cooperation with Burns & McDonnell Engineering based in Kansas City.
“The university hired Burns & McDonnell to assess the property in early April 2014, shortly before Selmo Park experienced excessive water damage due to spring storms and sewage backup that compounded structural issues,” Murphy said in his email. “The property assessment included numerous structural repairs to the 1866 main house, including demolition and reconstruction/restoration of the interior, and work on the property’s driveway, gazebo and other buildings. Engineers who presented to the Board of Governors during a meeting July 21, 2014 and again August 21, 2014 also noted that, as in any renovation project involving an older structure, total costs could exceed their projections once work began.”
According to Murphy, despite the long history of Selmo Park at UCM, the Board of Governors emphasized the university’s priority is to provide the highest quality education it can for its students at the most affordable cost. At a time when state of Missouri’s support is declining, Board members indicated spending $2 million on Selmo Park renovations was not deemed in the university’s best interest in serving students.
The Board recommended and approved removing the house from the property, and in its place providing a green area, until the university determines another use.
UCM’s Board of Governors in September 2014 formed the Selmo Park Committee to assess cultural and historical values of Selmo Park property, including the grounds, outbuildings, and the main structure, and to identify particular aspects of Selmo Park property for inclusion in the University Archives, repurposing in other UCM properties, and public exhibition. Their final report was presented to the board in February,2015.
|First President's Home UCM Warrensburg, Missouri|
located at South Street and College Street (Northwest Corner?).