Sunday, February 14, 2010

150 Year Old Historic House Once Again In Jeopardy

by David Sapp

A rare, wonderful remnant of our past is again in danger of being destroyed, either by neglect or by the bulldozer.  And it seems especially sad that the old house can't celebrate it's 150th anniversary in style without worrying if it will have a 151st birthday.

The David Guitar house on Oakland Gravel Road, known for many years as Confederate Hill, is a historical treasure that has endured various indignities.  Reprieved for a while by fine restoration at the hands of Noel and Mary Ann Crowson, the project ended up costing the Crowsons their savings and the house reverted to their financial backers.  It is on the market now and prospects are scarce.  Few developers would let it be known publicly but you can bet that they are watching to see if the price drops low enough to justify the public outrage when the bulldozer clears the house so that the land can be subdivided and made profitable.

To get a sense of the value of this house to our cultural fabric, click here and read the 2004 Tribune story about it.  And then click here to get a more recent, authoritative update on the future prospects for this house.

And lastly add your thoughts below.  You may drop a note to the author directly at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How did the rumor start that David Guitar was a confederate soldier? Missouri Secretary of State shows captain of Company B 61st Enrolled Missouri Militia--a union force. His Union credentials are listed in the Journal of Senate 1863. He's Union in the 1882 HIstory of Boone County, and Union in the Provost Marshall records at the Jefferson City recruiting station, and Union in the 1895 Biographical Sketches of Prominent Boone Countians--1895. His 1912 obituary referenced his union service. HIs post-war Business partner was a Radical Unionist.

Back in 1911, when Guitar was 82 he gave his memoirs to the "University Missourian" newspaper. The reporter wrote "Mr. Guitar was given a commission in the Confederate Army by Governor Gamble. HIs brother was a Confederate General." Gov. Gamble worked with the Union. Brother Oden Guitar was a Union General. From this single inaccurate article the false story erupted.

Using the single inaccurate source, the 1913 History of Northeast Missouri called David Guitar a confederate. Then the 1940 owner of the Guitar house invented the name "confederate hill," according the the 1993 National Park Service Historic evaluation form. This same NPS form cites the 1882 History of Boone County book, referring to his service in the 61st Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union) and still calls him a confederate! Didn't she know what the EMM was?
Meanwhile, the website of David Guitar's final resting place includes him as a Confederate. His gravestone in the family plot is not marked that way. And now Joan Gilbert wrote a book in 2000 that speculated he hid escaped Confederate soldiers. Was her source the same man who invented the name "Confederate Hill?" Recent articles call him a confederate. He was not!
There were many fine men who served both sides in the Civil War. They deserve to have their service correctly labeled. To do otherwise disrespects men on both sides. Who rights this historic wrong?

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