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Powers House
Corner of Walnut and 10th

 
 

The Powers House

Present day site

Article originally published In Columbia Tribune on March 29, 1987
Original Article

Whatever Happened to The Powers House?

By Francis Pike of the Tribune Staff


The Powers House, one of Columbia's most important early hostelries, caught fire from defective flue and burned in 1913. Originally, the three-story brick building at Walnut and Tenth streets was the palatial home of Richard Branham, a wealthy Columbia merchant who died May 31, 1857, in a ship fire in Galveston Bay.

Miss Lizzie Powers leased the home in the early 1880s and ran a hotel that especially catered to traveling salesmen who stepped off the Wabash railroad at the Columbia depot, only one block north.

Henry C. Wells operated the Powers House in the 1890s and, according to the historians Dr. John Crighton, "made it Columbia's most successful and popular hotel." it was the meeting place for politicians, sportsmen and business men. William J. Bryant attended a political banquet there during his 1896 campaign for president of the United States. University of Missouri football coaches customarily lodged under its roof. Fox hunters from Missouri and neighboring states gathered in preparations for annual meets.

Many student activities, such as after-dance banquets, were held at the Powers House, which was only a short distance from Columbia's entertainment center, the Haden Opera House. Columbia families stayed for extended periods, R.B. Price Jr., his brother Lakenan, and their mother, Mrs. Edwin Price, had rooms at the hotel one winter in the 1890s to enable the boys to attend school in Columbia, while their father operated the Model Farm near Woodlandville. Dean Alexander Martin of the University Law School and his wife were boarding there at the same time.

Reproduced with permission from The Columbia Tribune
 
 
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