This is an outstanding example of what can be accomplished through utilization of historic preservation tax credits and accurate rehabilitation of the downtown commercial buildings in Excelsior Springs. The Mooks’ building has just been awarded a 2009 Preserve Missouri Award from the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation. That makes back to back years an historic building rehabilitation project has won this prestigious award in Excelsior Springs.
In 2008 the Oaks Hotel project won this award for its excellence in rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of the building. The Oaks Hotel project developer, Carlson Gardner, Inc. also used historic preservation tax credits as part of the overall financing package to conduct the project.
The building, located at 100-102 East Broadway (the northeast corner of Broadway and Main Street), is owned by Ben and Amanda Mook. As property owners in the Hall of Waters Historic District, the Mooks have certainly done their part in preserving the downtown area and have shown what can be done through research, creative use of state and federal funds available for qualifying historic buildings, and of course, perseverance.
The building was originally addressed 102 and 104 E. Broadway but has since been changed to 100 and 102 E. Broadway, respectively. 104 E. Broadway is now the address for the apartment space above 106 East Broadway, also owned by the Mooks.
“This was the first building erected on the north side of Broadway between Main Street and Elizabeth Street. The first floor has always served as two businesses. A 1917 City Directory referred to the upper stories of the structure as the ‘Wintermute Building’. In 1900, the Excelsior Springs Drug Company was located in 102 E. Broadway; after 1906, it was the Hughes Drug Co. In 1905, 104 E. Broadway contained a men’s furnishings store; in 1909, the S.R. Rice Hardware store; in 1917, it was Miller & Woods hardware. By this time, 102 E. Broadway was now the office of Dr. H.H. Wallace. In 1922, Dr. J.A. Hodam was in 102, and 104 was not just Woods Hardware Co. Upstairs, Dr. D.T. Polk had offices, as did various other business enterprises. When 102 E. Broadway was converted into a doctor’s office, it appears that additional commercial ventures (requiring little space) were added on the first story, with addresses of 103-105 N. Main. The Rex Barber Shop was at 105 N. Main in 1922. By 1940, 102 E. Broadway was the Owl Sandwich Shop. It was later known as the Owl Café, and it remained in the same location for decades. A 1958 photograph reveals that 104 E. Broadway was a Firestone store.”
The building is a late adaptation of an Italianate style of the Victorian architectural era built ca. late 1890’s. Restored as a matched pair of commercial storefronts the building was constructed of brick vs. cast iron which was more customary to Italianate style architecture.
However, the window sills are painted cast iron which conveys the appearance of limestone. The windows are wood reproductions of the originals, which include arched lintels and a double hung, single pane design. The reproduction of the windows went so far as to retain the weighted system common to the era that includes a weight encased within the sash on either side of each window to hold the window’s weight once opened.
The brick arcade below the cornice and above the second floor windows along with the segmented highlight of the arched windows built into the brick work accentuates the Italianate styling.
The restored store fronts are typical of the period with double doors flanked by large glass show windows with two light transom windows above. Each store front set of doors are also flanked by decorate half hewn wooden beams with decorative trim matched by ground level panels below the showcase window sills.
The interior of each side of the building has been rehabilitated and remodeled with material and material design that is as close as possible to the original in today’s marketplace. Though the interior spaces are not an attempt at true restoration, altering the original floor plan has proved more practical for utilization of the available space. However, particular attention was paid to the floors and ceilings.
Oak floors and decorative pressed tin covering on the ceilings (the decorative tin ceiling inside the western half of the building has been treated with chrome and has also been applied as decorative fill throughout this side of the building, such as on the stair risers) give a spectacular visual to the open space of the building and what its original splendor would have been like after the original construction.