J.L. Stephens Home
Article originally published In Columbia Tribune on February 25, 1987
Whatever Happened to the J.L. Stephens Home?
By Francis Pike of the Tribune Staff
The J.L. Stephens home, built in 1843 in the 1400 block of East Broadway, was razed to make way for the James M. Wood learning Center erected by Stephens college in 1963.
James Leachman Stephens was among the early pioneers from Kentucky and Virginia who bought 40 acre lots outside the city and 11-acre in-town lots that had been platted by the Smithton Land Co. in Columbia's first layout in 1820. He and his descendants developed these lots as subdivisions.
It was noted in 1882 that the J.L. Stephens home had been built on the site of the Christian church's first state meeting in Columbia, which Alexander Campbell presided over in October 1845.
Stephens' subdivision was one of the first developments in Columbia. He owned approximately 180 acres behind his home on East Broadway, including the site of the present James M. Wood quadrangle. Adjoining his home were stables, carriage houses, servant quarters and other outbuildings. Area for chickens, hogs and a cow were nearby. With the Construction of the Columbia-Centralia branch railroad in 1867, the Stephens acreage was developed into many home lots along Price Avenue, Paris Road and other streets to the north and east.
In addition to being a land developer, Stephens was best known as the first merchant to conduct his various businesses on a cash basis. He also was a generous contributor to Stephens College, which was named after him.
Reproduced with permission from The Columbia Tribune