Historic City of Jefferson’s 2015 Homes Tour showcases the work of Hurst John.
This year’s homes tour focuses on the work of one architect, Hurst John. John was a prolific mid-Missouri architect who designed more than 900 properties during his 30-year career.
He built more than 60 homes in Jefferson City spanning from the 1950s to the 1970s. Although John passed away suddenly in 1979 during the process of designing a home at 822
Boonville Road, his tasteful designs continue to withstand the test of time.
John had the nickname of the Frank Lloyd Wright of Columbia, so tagged from his desire to blend his residences with the landscape and for his emphasis on bringing the outside in with the use of many windows. His daughter, Martha John, is an architect who resides in Columbia. Martha John worked for her father as a draftsperson and secretary while completing her master’s degree in music and then went on to obtain her Bachelor of Arts in architecture at Kansas State University after her father’s death.
“Dad would always spend a lot of time on a home site, drawing up a grid survey of the land contours and marking the location of all the trees and other features to provide a clear idea of how to best fit the house into the property,” she says.
Hurst John was known for visiting proposed construction locations during various times of day, including dusk and dawn, to best determine the future home’s most advantageous use of natural lighting. Hallmark features of his interior designs include rooms set at angles, abundant use of doors and windows and living spaces organized by the flow of the day. The view
from every window was carefully considered to achieve the most ideal vista from every vantage point. The exteriors of his homes typically include painted brick exteriors, low pitch roof lines, large monumental chimneys, exposed roof rafters and circular driveways.
The following Westside homes are open for viewing during the 2015 Homes Tour.
3420 Country Club Drive
3420 Country Club Drive, home of Dr. E.D. Suggett, was built in 1970. The entry boasts a lovely sweeping stairway to the terrace level. Many original features still adorn the home, including chandeliers from Austria and Germany. The living room’s marble fireplace was once inside the now demolished U.S. Post Office and Supreme Court building in Jefferson City. Walnut paneling in the dining room came from the Steven’s Hotel in Chicago. Key exterior features, typical of John Hurst, include custom-made bricks, cypress exterior trim and exposed roof rafters. This home rests on a parklike, soothing four acres.
3434 Hobbs Lane
Behind 3420 Country Club sits 3434 Hobbs Lane, the home built for Suggett’s sister, Tess Suggett Jones, and her husband, Corliss. This home was built around 1968. Jones was the state superintendent of health education. The exterior of this home originally featured shake shingles and queen brick walls. The home has a signature low-pitched roofline, distinctive courtyard wall and copper entry roof. Inside are many repurposed treasures that make the interior particularly unique. When remodeling the home, the current owners employed an architect who formerly worked with Hurst John. Both of the Suggett homes were built with a mother-in-law’s suite on the lower floor.
2611 E. Schellridge
2611 E. Schellridge was originally the home of Carmine Vignola and his wife, Grace Kolb. Vignola was president of Carmine A. Vignola Associates in Jefferson City and was devoted to many Roman Catholic causes. Built in 1960, the home was originally a two-story structure designed in the Monterey or Creole French style, with the one-story additions coming later. The wrought iron railing on the front balcony was fabricated in New Orleans and shipped to Jefferson City by barge. It is said that the lower level of the home was finished to accommodate visiting priests, complete with stained glass, solid mahogany paneling and wool carpet. Many of the original light fixtures that remain were imported from Italy. A tranquil Japanese garden in the back was reputedly designed by Buffy Mural, who also designed the Japanese garden for the Lodge of the Four Seasons at the Lake of the Ozarks.
3329 Country Club Drive
3329 Country Club Drive, built in 1960 and touted as one of the lovelier homes in Jefferson City, is an outstanding example of “authentic French Provencal architecture,” according to a local newspaper article. Even the furnishings at that time reflected the overall design of the home. Key features of the home’s exterior include brick construction, unfinished timbers and a shake shingle roof. Unfortunately, the original owner, Juliet Price Idol (great-granddaughter of Thomas Lawson Price, Jefferson City’s first mayor), died during a fire in the home many years later. Although the home was badly damaged during the fire, the next owners remained sensitive to keeping with the integrity of its original design throughout the restoration process. The current floor plan, nearly untouched from the original, features several areas that provide optimal entertaining options.
2323 West Main St.
2323 W. Main St. was built in 1960. One of the early residents of the home was Kansas City lawyer Henry I. Eager. Judge Eager was appointed as a Supreme Court judge in Jackson County (Kansas City) and served from 1955 to 1968. The majority of this two story home’s interior is remarkably intact, including a prominent central hearth, original hardwoods and ceiling beams in the library. The second floor features a number of nooks that not only create a picturesque floor plan but also allow for lots of light. Leading up to this two-story home with dormers that break the roof line is Hurst John’s signature circle drive.