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Somebody should do something!

Posted Friday, July 17, 2009, at 5:36 PM

For the second time in little more than a year, Marshall has lost a historic building.

Thursday, July 16, it was one of the oldest homes in Marshall, located on E. Eastwood St., in what was once the most expensive neighborhood in town. In late February 2008, it was the 1850s Obannon home on U.S. Highway 65 north of the city.

In each case, word that the building was at risk did not become public until the last minute, too late to save either of them from destruction.

The public outcry following the two demolitions was considerable, and usually expressed in these terms:

"Somebody should do something!"

Yes, exactly. Somebody should do something.

At some point between the destruction of the Obannon home in February 2008 and the Eastwood property this week, there was plenty of time to do "something." Plenty of time to organize a group of interested people who could have done some research on the city's older homes and buildings. Plenty of time for the same interested people to investigate the condition of those buildings and begin to build a plan to preserve them for the future. Plenty of time to ensure that another historic building would not meet the same fate as these two homes.

Yes. There was plenty of time for somebody to do something.

Unfortunately, nobody did.

Saga unfolds of how Eastwood house met its fate:


Saline County loses historic home:


Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

when life tears down historic buildings, make quilts!

-- Posted by SecretAgentMichaelScarn on Fri, Jul 17, 2009, at 5:43 PM

Oh, gee, Scarn - if I only knew how! Would you be kind enough to teach me? You must have a great affection for quilts, since you mention them so often :)

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Fri, Jul 17, 2009, at 9:30 PM

Hey Kath, I love all your blog entries. I was practically raised by quilts. This might be a good place for you to learn about basics: http://www.how-to-quilt.com/

-- Posted by SecretAgentMichaelScarn on Sat, Jul 18, 2009, at 10:07 AM

Being in no financial position to take any practical action toward preservation, all I can do is offer suggestions.

Savannah, GA is kind of the poster child of historic preservation. What happened there is that a relatively small number of people (say 100 or so) each donated a relatively small amount of money (say $1,000 or so) in order to build a "preservation fund" used to purchase at risk properties. They then turned around and sold those properties to buyers willing to do the required renovations and repairs on those homes in a timely fashion. It was a revolving fund that grew by selling the homes for a little more than what they bought them for. Soon they were able to buy more and more homes and therefore preserve the architectural integrity of the Historic District.

If anyone is interested in reading more about the Historic Savanah Foundation, or in reading more about the National Trust for Historic Preservation, here are some links:



-- Posted by imaloony on Sun, Jul 19, 2009, at 1:41 PM

imaloony: I hope someone takes your suggestion and runs with it. Certainly Savannah is a much larger city than Marshall, with many more buildings to keep track of, which ought to make it that much easier to do it here. Thanks for dropping by!

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Sun, Jul 19, 2009, at 4:22 PM


The story about the house that was just lost says that was the 3 oldest house in Marshall can you tell us the 2 houses that are older?


-- Posted by Gal66 on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 12:00 PM

Gal66: I went back through the stories we published and don't see any reference to the house as being the 3rd oldest in the city. I don't recall anyone telling me that, so I can't tell you what houses would be older.

This house was built in 1882, but Marshall was founded about 40 years before that - it's possible there are more than just two older houses, but I'm certainly not an expert on that subject.

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 3:15 PM

Thanks for the link to the article on the Minor O'Bannon home. I had missed that sad saga. Thanks too, for the information on the Savannah Foundation from the self described "Imaloony". Must say, the two comments I've read to date, it's an undeserved or self deprecating description.

Are council meetings open to the public? Are there volunteer advisory committees?

So much can go wrong with a home that is occupied, to leave one open to the elements for five years is extreme neglect.

Friends, who travel on business for extended periods returned to their home from six months in Hong Kong. They had arranged for graduate students to live in the home and look after it. While they were abroad, lightning hit the house and took out many of the appliances and hvac equipment. A whole house surge protection system was installed, followed by new appliances and equipment. The irrigation system was knocked out and it didn't occur to the students to water in dry periods. So expensive trees, plants bit the dust. Shortly after the ex-pats returned they noticed a strong odor of gas...from the meter. They feel lucky the house is still standing!

-- Posted by upsedaisy on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 8:11 PM

Kathy, Thomas Parks acquired land from the Federal Government and built a house on it in Marshall around 1836. The first entry on the property abstract after the house was built was the sale of the house in Aug, 1841 to Cornelius Davis. I believe that it is either the oldest or one of the oldest homes in Marshall, Mo.

Eric did a story on the house several years ago.

-- Posted by John Q. on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 12:37 AM

upsedaisy: About council meetings - meetings of the city council are public. Mayor Latimer told me last week that meetings regarding property issues generally are not public, specifically because the discussion is about private property, and may include discussion about debt owed on the house or owed to the city for services.

As to voluntary advisory committees, I don't think there are any. What this situation seems to call for is some kind of historical preservation committee to be formed locally, along the lines of the group in Arrow Rock, and I hope someone does that.

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 6:28 AM

Here's one place to get started with historic preservation:


Missouri is recognized as a model in in rehabbing older properties - there's money available, if the bill in the Missouri legislature doesn't interfere.

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 9:10 AM

Several years ago there was a group of preservation minded people that tried to put together an ordinance for Marshall to adopt that would have certainly helped in this situation. After a public meeting was held the group disbanded because of the chorus of distrust and even anger from owners of older homes most of whom lived on Eastwood Street.

-- Posted by broke-n-busted on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 3:17 PM

broke-n-busted: Thanks for pointing that out - I haven't lived here long enough to know much about past efforts.

I'd say it's time to try again on a city ordinance. "If at first you don't succeed..."

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 4:26 PM


John Q posted about Thomas Parks acquiring land from the Federal Government and building a house in Marshall around 1836. He mentioned that Eric did a story on the house several years ago. Is that story available on line?

You are right it is time to try again. "Whobodies" to the front.

-- Posted by upsedaisy on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 11:16 PM

upsedaisy: I searched for the story several ways and found nothing, unfortunately.

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 5:59 AM

The story I did on the old house John Q mentioned was published in a special section for the paper but was not published on the web. I'll see if I can dig up the text and photos.

-- Posted by Eric Crump on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 9:38 AM

while I understand the preservation of historic homes, and I am saddened to see any of them go, I also recall that the O'Bannon property was purchased by the owners of Springwater Greenhouse before the home was put to rest.

I have to look at this situation as sad, yes, but overall it is the choice of the property owner at that time. Yes, they could have left the old home in the background of their property, since they are mainly using the foreground, but look at the additional liability they would have with all the customers and employees coming and going.

I hated to see the old home go, but in the situation, they owned it, they can do anything they want with it.

On another thought, it was in far worse condition than the McClure home, why didn't the city step in years ago?

-- Posted by patron on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 12:24 PM

patron: By the time Springwater purchased the Obannon property, it was too far gone for them to reclaim it. The interior had been gutted - all the woodwork, including stairs to what had been the upper level was gone, so it was basically a shell. And you're absolutely right about the liability, if they'd left it as it was.

One difference between that property and the McClure property is that it *was* offered for sale, where McClure's property was not - that may have been a factor in why the city didn't act on it, but I certainly don't know that for certain.

-- Posted by Kathy Fairchild on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 12:44 PM

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Kathy Fairchild received a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration in 1986 from Marycrest College, Davenport, Iowa. She is also a 2003 graduate of the paralegal program at New York University. She moved to Marshall in 2006, following a career of more than 30 years with the world's largest farm equipment manufacturer. She is an Air Force brat and grandmother of four.
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