Article originally published In Columbia Tribune on December 16, 1990
Whatever Happened to the Columbia Brewery Co?
By Francis Pike of the Tribune Staff and Midge Crawford for the Boone County Historical Society
The brewery buildings no longer exist, but the land once occupied by the Columbia Brewery Co. is now the site of a home owned by Ruth Ann and david Aldag of Olathe, Kan., daughter and son-in-law of the occupants of the home, Oscar and Mary Barnhart, 509 S. Old 63.
The brewery acreage of 3.53 acres is located west of Hinkson Creek, and a small part of the lot reaches up a steep bluff to Cliff Drive and is a part of the East Highlands addition, subdivided by Waler and Mary Gutherie Miller in 1941.
The original owner of the brewery was David Gordon, Jr. whose father came from Kentucky in 1818, and with 34 other early settlers, mostly from the state, formed the Smithon Company and bought 2,700 government acres from the Franklin (Howard County) Land Office.
On June 1, 1824, Gordon bought 160 acres of the Smithton Company land. The first acreage he bought contained the land on which the brewery would later be built. This also included his log cabin - still standing as property of Stephens College and Known as the Pop Collins Cabin. Eventually, Gordon would buy more than 1,000 acres, including the lake and golf course land now owned by Stephens College.
When David Gordon St. died in January 1849, his extensive holdings went to his sons, David Jr., George and James Gordon. The acreage on which the brewery would later be built went to David Gordon Jr.
On June 9, 1871, the brewery grounds were surveyed, with David Gordon Jr., owner of the 3.53 acres, becoming president of the brewery and John Prosinger secretary. George Baumgartner and Joseph Giessler were also owners in the brewery operations. The survey mentions that "at the foot of a large rock bluff, a hole was drilled into the bluff for the brewery." The hole - also called a vault - may no longer be seen because it is believed that the blasting of the rock cliff for the highway right-of-way destroyed it.
The Columbia Brewery Co. was in operation only three to four years when Gordon and Prosinger defaulted on some notes and the brewery sold for $3,993 to two men on Feb. 4, 1874, on the Boone County Courthouse steps. Boyle Gordon, holder of one of the notes was paid $2,420 and the other note holder, Thomas Gentry, was awarded $1,573.
David Gordon Jr. died the next year in April. Less than a year later, on Jan. 1, 1876, after another note default by the brewery company. Huda Gordon, widow of David, bought the 3.53 acres of the brewery land in partnership with two of her children, Julia and Scott Gordon, "being the highest and best bidders for the sum of $99." This included, according to the abstract, the land "at the foot of a large stone bluff at which a hold was drilled."
David Gordon's widow, Hulda, inherited his estate. When Hulda died in March 1888, the estate went to her children, Scott Gordon and Clara Gordon, Mary Gordon and Julia (Gordon) Callaway.
Scott Gordon bought his sisters' holding on March 1, 1890, and sold 34 acres, including the brewery grounds to Rudolph Buddemeyer on Oct. 8, 1894. Buddemeyer, from Hermann, started a truck garden and provided vegetables to restaurants, grocery stores and to individual homes. He also reared a family of nine children.
Buddemeyer sold the 34 acres to H.G. Miller on Oct. 13, 1906, for $2550, "including the bottom land around the brewery," according to the abstract. walter McNab and Helen Guthrie Millers came into possession of the land March 31, 1916.
Among the renters of the home was John Lockwood who reared a large family at the place. His children continued to use the same path up the steep hill to present-day Cliff Drive that the Buddemeyer children used. This was the path, part of which may still be seen, that was used to go to school or downtown.
Helen Miller had the brewery tract surveyed by D.E. Hill on Sept. 4, 1941, and sold it to Mary Alice and Oscar Barnhart on Oct. 8, 1941. The home was remodeled and added to by the Barnharts.
Reproduced with permission from The Columbia Tribune