The Lincoln University President’s House reopens with a fresh, new look.
Home Staging By David Brandon Chambers
When a violent tornado tore through Jefferson City in 2019, the President’s House at Lincoln University took a direct hit to the southeast corner of the living room and the primary suite. With the majority of the furniture and interior furnishings blown onto Highway 50 and scattered throughout the city between the property and the old prison, the house, originally built in 1913, was uninhabitable without a complete reconstruction.
“The house became a blender, shattering all but two windows and spinning glass shards, mud, grass, and debris throughout, embedding them into the walls and other surfaces,” says Jeff Turner, director of facilities and planning at Lincoln University. “All exterior doors and interior shutters were ripped from the home, leaving brick and splintered jams. Many interior doors were split in half or completely torn from their hinges.”
While the exterior of the home sustained mostly cosmetic damage, crystal sitting on a built-in shelf in the dining room and some items stored in the basement and in cabinets were the only things salvageable from inside the home.
Over the course of 24 months, the house was completely stripped to the studs and rebuilt to modern standards while preserving the old-world feel of the original home. Exterior cleanup and interior mitigation and demolition took six months. It took seven months to source and install the copper gutters and new slate roof, which came from a mine in Vermont.
“The pandemic hit right in the middle of procuring construction materials, which delayed the project by at least six months,” Jeff says. “The craziest thing is that we couldn’t locate a garage door. The team finally found one in Canada and had it shipped to the house.”
During demolition, Lincoln University Interim President John Moseley says the crew discovered some exciting treasures — two fireplaces and a window that had been covered over during previous renovations.
“There was one fireplace already exposed, and with the discovery of the fireplaces in the master bedroom and the family room, the house now has three working fireplaces,” John says.
Working closely with restoration experts at BlueSky, the team meticulously selected modern yet timeless finishes to give the home an open, inviting feel.
“The crown molding and trim are accented in white with a neutral color on all interior walls, except the dining room and first floor powder room,” Jeff says. “The windows and doors were all custom made locally and match the exterior roof trim and fascia. All original hardwood flooring, stair tread, and railings were restored to their original appearance.”
With the house demolished to the studs, there was also room for improvements to the house’s flow. Access to the dining space was enhanced by enlarging the entrance from the kitchen and main entry. The original kitchen was enlarged to include a center island and additional cabinet space.
“The kitchen is the room that changed the most, as it was completely opened up and modernized with a new refrigerator, new stove, and other modern appliances,” John says. “It is great for entertaining.”
While the expectation is that future presidents will reside in the home, today it is currently used for entertainment purposes. The former sunroom now features six tables and comfortably accommodates 24 people. The addition of a 10-person dining table and four barstools at the kitchen island allows 38 people to enjoy a seated meal in the house. The biggest improvement is a new driveway and event space in the back of the house that replaced a single entry and roundabout. This addition translates to more outdoor entertainment space as well as additional parking for guests.
After 24 months of navigating supply and construction challenges during a global pandemic, the large team of local contractors and university staff is proud of the work they did on this unique project.
“The team feels like the original builder would be proud of the look and feel of a 100-plus-year-old home with a touch of modern influence in a few areas,” Jeff says.
AAA Masonry (Columbia)
AB Pest Control (Lake Ozark)
Aire Serv (Jefferson City/Columbia)
All-n-One Outdoor Solutions (Jefferson City)
Bill Binkley & Sons Excavating (Jefferson City)
Broad Building Supply (Columbia)
C&C Group (Jefferson City)
C&R Garage Doors (Columbia)
Fence Pro LLC (New Bloomfield/Jefferson City)
Forshaw Fireplace (Jefferson City)
Frank Sager & Son (St. Louis)
Holt Construction (Columbia)
Johnson Plumbing (Columbia)
JP3 Cabinetry (St. Louis)
Labor Max Staffing (Jefferson City)
Labrue Development Concepts (Lake Ozark)
Mark Hall Cabinets (Columbia)
Mid-City Lumber (Jefferson City)
Mr. Rooter Plumbing (Columbia)
Primer Painting (St. Louis)
ProSource Doors and Windows (St. Louis)
Raygoza Contracting Services (St. Louis)
Rehagen | Midstates Energy Co. (Jefferson City)
Renaissance Historic Exteriors (Belvidere, IL)
Samuels Flooring and Remodeling (Columbia)
Sommers Interiors (Jefferson City)
Studio Home (Columbia)
Swanson Masonry (St. Louis)
Young Remodeling (Columbia)