Group implores commission to support restoration of Jackson house

Friday, April 19, 2013
The Frizel-Welling house is seen Friday, March 8, 2013 at 209 W. Main St. in Jackson. (Fred Lynch)

Cape Girardeau County commissioners were reluctant Thursday to show support for an effort to turn a nearly 200-year-old house in Jackson into a state historic site.

Tom Strickland, a member of a local group trying to ensure preservation of the Frizel-Welling house, approached commissioners to request the county to send a letter to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources State Historic Preservation Office in favor of the group's efforts.

The house, located at 209 W. Main St., was built in 1818 by Joseph Frizel, a merchant, Cape Girardeau County judge and a state representative who married the daughter of prominent pioneer George Frederick Bollinger. Frizel co-founded and organized a Masonic lodge at the home with Alexander Buckner, who later became a U.S. senator. Several additions were constructed in the 1800s, including one in 1838 by Charles Welling, who bought the house after Frizel's death in 1823.

Welling married Frizel's daughter. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999 because it served as "a valuable local example of an early vernacular Greek Revival dwelling," according to the nomination form for the registry.

The house's current owners live in Charleston, Mo., and out of state, and have placed the house up for sale for $135,000. Included in the sale are many original furnishings.

Strickland said the owners are elderly and want to see the house saved but have to be sold in order for that to happen. He has spoken with representatives of the city of Jackson and the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, who he said support making the house a state historic site.

Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy said he did not feel comfortable contacting the DNR about the request since the county has been facing cuts to state reimbursements in recent years for services like property assessments and housing prisoners. Turning the house into a state historic site would require the state to purchase the property and perform renovations, according to Strickland.

The commission made no decision on sending a letter.

Strickland said he hoped the commission would consider sending one before the end of the state legislative session, which is May 17.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

1 Barton Square, Jackson, MO

209 W. Main St., Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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