The Willis Mansion
Article originally published In Columbia Tribune on March 1, 1987
Whatever Happened to the Willis Mansion?
By Francis Pike of the Tribune Staff
When the Willis mansion burned on March 12, 1937, it was one of the oldest houses in Columbia. The mansion, located close to the center of several acres of land facing Broadway between willis and Dorsey streets, belonged to Stephens College. The south fence line of the acreage was behind the house on Bass Avenue.
John H. Field built the two-story brick mansion in 1847 or 1848 to conform to the latest in architectural conceptions. The house was composed of many large, high-ceilinged rooms and halls and featured a wide porch with tall columns.
Field sold the property in 1859 to James R. Shields, who later sold it to J.S. Moss, grandfather of J. Same Mass, well-known dairy land that is now a part of Columbia on Grindstone Creek.
Mrs. W.H. Willis bought the mansion in 1890 from J.S. Moss and lived in the massive brick structure until she sold the property to Stephens college in January 1937. The stephens Macklanburg Play House and the Stephens tennis courts now occupy the site.
Reproduced with permission from The Columbia Tribune