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UMCA News Release

University of Missouri receives federal support to restore historic mid-Missouri homestead

Dec. 5, 2005

NEW FRANKLIN, Mo. - A rare historical building, which sits on a University of Missouri research center, will soon get a significant renovation thanks to $500,000 in federal funds.

Hickman House, one of the oldest hand-made-brick buildings in Missouri, will get a major renovation thanks to funds supported by Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond.

"We should not let historical sites decay or fall victim to development," Bond said during an announcement ceremony at the MU Horticultural and Agroforestry Research Center Nov. 30.

"The Hickman House has a lot to teach us about Missouri history, about early agriculture and about architecture," Bond said. "We should bring the history of the Hickman House alive to this and future generations of Missourians."

The 1,800 square-foot house is one of the oldest brick structures in Missouri, and the oldest in the Boonslick area. It was built in 1819, the year after Thomas Hickman, his wife, Sarah Prewitt Hickman, and their four children arrived in the wilderness that was Howard County from Bourbon, Ky.

Hickman, along with several partners opened a dry goods and hardware store in what is now known as Old Franklin. He also began land speculation and raised his family in the southern Georgian-style home overlooking forested valleys and tall-grass prairies of what is now the MU horticulture research farm.

The Franklin region was a critical outpost in Missouri's early days, and was the original starting point of the Santa Fe Trail.

Historians believe the house was built of bricks hand-kilned on the property. Brick masons used the then-popular Flemish bond technique-one long brick alternating with one short brick-for the front facade, and the simpler common bond pattern on the end walls and rear wall of the house.

Once restored, the house and surrounding gardens will play a critical role in bringing citizens to see the cutting-edge of agroforestry technology and other research taking place at HARC, said Gene Garrett, research farm superintendent.

"The Hickman House has tremendous historical value, and once restored, it will draw thousands to the area and the farm," he said. "Once they're here, they won't leave until they know about agroforestry."

HARC is one of the leading centers in the country focused on creating systems where traditional agriculture-growing crops or raising livestock-and tree and forest production not only co-exist, but augment each other.

"We must create teachable moments to get new technologies adopted," Garrett said. "In order to be effective, we need to get the potential user on the farm for demonstration purposes."

Bond secured the restoration funds in the 2006 Transportation-Treasury-HUD Appropriations bill, which passed Congress in late November.

--Greg D. Horstmeier
News Director
Extension & Ag Information
University of Missouri
(573) 884-1846

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