Abandoned for three decades, one of Missouri's oldest stone houses, located two miles from the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail, is now on its way to being restored.
Last month, work began on the 1819 Thomas Hickman House, now part of the 600-acre University of Missouri-Columbia's research farm near New Franklin, Mo.
The university, which has owned the Hickman House since the 1950s, has raised $1.25 million for the restoration project, thanks in part to a matching grant of $250,000 from Save America's Treasures, a public-private partnership between the National Park Service and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
"It really hasn't been forgotten," says Gene Garrett, professor of forestry at the university and superintendent of the research farm. "It was apparently a community gathering place. … I cannot believe how many people have told me, 'I remember being in that house.'"
Once a popular spot for local dances, the 1,800-square-foot house will become the farm's reception center. The Hickman House is scheduled to open next summer, Garrett says. "It is a source of pride in the community that this house is being restored."