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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Houston House placed on Mo. endangered list

  • The Houston House, one of Newburg's first buildings, could be getting a much-needed rehab after being placed on the Missouri Preservation 2014 List of Most Endangered Places in May.
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  • The Houston House, one of Newburg's first buildings, could be getting a  much-needed rehab after being placed on the Missouri Preservation 2014 List of Most Endangered Places in May.
    The Most Endangered program annually spotlights historic resources that are imperiled. The first Endangered Historic Places announcement was made in 2000 and began as a media campaign aimed at calling attention to endangered historical resources statewide.
    "Each spring Missouri citizens present nominations for places to be placed on the list," said Bill Hart, Missouri Preservation field director. "We have a committee that looks at these nominations and ranks them based on such things as community support and resource availability."
    This year there were 14 nominations. Six new properties were elected and five historical spots remained on the list. Among the other sites selected to this year's list are The Coleman House in ­Poplar Bluff, The Henry Miller House in ­Bloomfield and The James Clemens House ­in St. Louis.  
    Founded by the St. Louis-San Francisco (Frisco) Railroad in 1883-84, Newburg served as the major refueling point between St. Louis and Springfield.
    The first structures to be erected at Newburg for the purposes of the railroad were the Frisco roundhouse and the "Railroad Hotel and Eating House," known today as the Houston House. Both of these structures opened for business on Jan. 1, 1884.
    Linda Marshall is the president of the Newburg Community Revitalization Program Group (NCRPG). In 2004, the group purchased the building and has since operated the Houston House as a weekly soup bowl luncheon in an effort to raise funds to help with the upkeep of the building.
    Members have also begun a monthly game night and have been working with their neighbor, the Lyric Live Theater in providing refreshments during their performances.
    However, Marshall explained that much more work is needed.
    "Any help we can get to preserve this place is a good thing," she said.
    In particular, she noted that volunteers are needed to help cook and serve at the soup bowl luncheon and other events scheduled.
    Marshall said that the siding of the house is in need of repair. The hope is to have it painted and ready for Newburg Day, Saturday, June 14.
    In August of last year, the Houston House was flooded with six inches of water and another inch of mud. The standing water caused the floors to buckle. Black mold was also found on site.
    It was estimated that the flood caused at least $80,000 in damages to the building. The building was closed for four months.
    "We are going to have a grand re-opening with desserts, drinks and an ice cream social," she said, but no date has been set yet.
    With the building collapsing in on itself, Marshall said that her group is trying to hang on as long as they can.
    Page 2 of 2 - Hart told the Daily News that this is what his organization is all about.
    "More often than not we are able to save properties from demolition," he noted. "We are here to help citizens save historical places that have significant meaning to the local community."

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