Story by Jaden Harper | Jun 18, 2018
In 1839, the first portion of a new building was constructed. At the time, Missouri had been a state for eighteen years. People came from the East Coast and headed west, passing by the river town of Jefferson City. Steamboats were the most important way to bring people and products to the town. This drew many immigrants to the area who made the city their home. For others, it was a rest stop before heading further west. Situated less than 100 feet from the Missouri River, the building welcomed travelers to the capital. This building became known as Lohman’s Landing, which is now a part of the Jefferson Landing State Historic State.
Charles F. Lohman and his business partner Charles B. Maus purchased the eastern section of what would become Lohman’s Landing in 1852. The two partners ran a general, better known as a grocery, store. They operated a freight transfer business and stocked their mercantile for passing river men. 10 years later, Lohman purchased the remaining two sections of the building. The ground floor continued to be a general store but also served as a warehouse. The Lohman family occupied the upper floors of the building as private residences. A large variety of goods were brought here by boat and later on by train. Some of the many goods for sale were building supplies, food, tools, and clothing. This gave new settlers everything they needed to build a house, open a business, or mend clothing.
However in 1871, disaster struck. The Viola Bell, Lohman’s own vessel, sunk and caused him to lose most of his invested money. A year later, Lohman was forced to partner with another company, the Bodine Hill Iron Foundry, to maintain ownership of the building. In July of 1873, a local newspaper noted that a steamer had docked at Lohman’s Landing. The name stuck and Lohman’s name became associated with the Jefferson City Landing. In 1874, Louis Lohman, Charles Lohman’s son, became a partner in the mercantile business and the name was changed to “Lohman & Son.” In 1875, Lohman bought out Bodine’s portion of the iron foundry, but the business quickly deteriorated. This left Charles Lohman bankrupt. In 1875, Louis Lohman bought the business from his father and relocated to High Street because the Landing could no longer support a mercantile enterprise. However, the Lohman family continued to live in the building.
In June of 1876, Louis Lohman could no longer afford to pay his father’s debt. The First National Bank of Jefferson City purchased the building at the sheriff’s auction. After this, the Lohman building changed owners several times. Various companies used the original iron foundry additions for storage or left the area vacant. The buildings at Lohman’s Landing were primarily used as tenements and warehouses throughout the last two decades of the 19th century. However, in 1892, one of the Lohman’s buildings was leased to the Priesmeyer family. By 1917, the Tweedie family had acquired full ownership of the company, and the name was changed to Tweedie Footwear Corporation. The company provided manufactured military items throughout the World War II era. In the 1950’s, the company became a well-known maker of women’s footwear, and their products began to sell across the United States. The company was closed in the 1960’s. After the Tweedie company closed its doors, the area was left with empty buildings, and plans were made to destroy the buildings to build a parking lot. Jefferson City residents protested the planned destruction under the leadership of Elizabeth Rozier. The protests worked, and restoration began on the buildings.
In 1974, Missouri’s bicentennial commission selected Jefferson Landing as the state’s official project. Restoration was finished on the structure and opened to the public on July 4, 1976 as the cornerstone of Jefferson Landing Historic Site. Today, the Lohman Building is one of the oldest existing buildings in Jefferson City. The Lohman building continues to welcome visitors daily. The Lohman Building Exhibits are open every Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.