Word on the Street: A series on iconic streets in Jefferson City - Capitol Ave

We have a brand new series for you! Logan Gratz is here this week to give us his unique perspective on different neighborhoods in Jefferson City. With each post, he will give a little background of the neighborhood, the architectural style of the neighborhood, price ranges, and if there are any available. You are sure to learn something new and interesting. 

Take it away Logan!

There is true beauty in Jefferson City and it is found in so many different styles and ways. I have always been fond of history and learning how things come to be. For me, one of the most unique things about Jefferson City are revealed through the historic homes and areas. I approached the jeffcityblog.com team with an idea to unveil the value of these areas, along with discovering the backgrounds of these homes and neighborhoods. Let's begin this journey on the highlighted and historical Capitol Avenue.

 
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In the heart of Missouri, we are blessed with the beautiful Capitol and all the history surrounding it. If you have ever been to Jefferson City, then you more than likely have been on this road. Capitol Avenue has been one of the hottest topics in the area for years. The road stretches just over a mile from the Capitol grounds down to Riverside Drive. Capitol Avenue’s beginning is a no brainer, but the history behind some of its homes is remarkable. Leading the way from the Missouri State Penitentiary to the Capitol building, this street is home to houses built all the way back to the mid and late 1800s. 

 
 Missouri State Penitentiary

Missouri State Penitentiary

 

Just north of 500 Capitol lies the old Parsons house on Jackson St., which is said to be one of the oldest homes still standing in Jefferson City.The Parsons house, like so many others in the area, comes with rich history and character. The questions I have always had are, "Who built these historic mansions?" and "Why?". In the late 1800s, Capitol Avenue was the place for wealthy entrepreneurs, prison superintendents, and government officials.

 
 The Parsons House

The Parsons House

Take the Marmaduke Home at 700 Capitol, for example. This home was built by inmates for the warden of the penitentiary at the time. Heading back west toward the Capitol, you run into the Dallmeyer, Houchins, and Hobbs homes. These mansions were built for local entrepreneurs that resided in the area.

 
 
 

In the early 1900s, Capitol Avenue was full of businesses and residences. As you move closer toward the penitentiary, you'll find places that were home to lobbyists, politicians, and even local business people. The historic Ivy Terrance home, that currently houses the Governor and other government officials, is registered in the National Register of Historic Places. It is even said that the line of buildings across from the governor’s mansion were built by Governor Gratz Brown for legislators to live in. Local businesses also made themselves at home on Capitol Avenue by establishing their own shops, such as shoe factories and automotive shops. 

 
 129 Capitol Ave

129 Capitol Ave

 

One of the unique stories many have not heard of, is Capitol Avenue's underground tunnel. Although I have never been in it, I have seen an access to it in the basement of a home along Capitol Avenue. I've also heard that there are brick arrows built into walls of some buildings as indicators for where these tunnels are located. The secrecy of this hidden mystery still keeps me searching for more answers on that area of Capitol Avenue's history.

 
 

Aside from the common living, these homes of former business leaders, politicians, and prison heads have had different uses in today’s society. Today you can still find residential buildings, but most of the homes have been converted to businesses. From the Capitol, you can walk to the train station, numerous associations, appraisers, attorneys, restaurants, event venues, theater, barbers, museums, funeral home, and many more businesses. You can reach restaurants such as Prison Brews, JQ’s on HighO'Donoghue's, Arris’s Pizza, Gumbo Bottoms, Madison’s Cafe, Bones Restaurant and Lounge, and much more. You can be entertained at Avenue HQ and numerous museums. Although there have been new buildings built, most of the structures that are in the Capitol Avenue area are from the early 1900s, which gives a satisfying blend of modern lifestyle with the authentic history.

 
 Avenue HQ

Avenue HQ

 

The older homes that remain vary in appearance, but many of them have the American Foursquare style. This style of home is square-built with two and a half floors, as seen at 718 Capitol. You will find beautifully styled homes such as bungalow, open gable, vernacular, Italian/Spanish revival, pyramidal cottage, and more. The diversity of architecture found in Jefferson City adds to the true beauty of the area.

Homes in the Capitol Avenue area range from $50,000 all the way up to near $600,000 in value. Currently, there are seven homes for sale on High St. ranging from $50,000 to $290,000. There are very few homes for sale on Capitol Avenue, but currently there are about three homes that could be purchased.

 
 Photo credit: Lindsey Pantaleo

Photo credit: Lindsey Pantaleo

 

From rich history to new beginnings, Capitol Avenue has developed throughout the years. The city was able to complete brand new sidewalks along with lighting up and down the historic avenue. Numerous businesses have been able to update their appearances, yet maintain the beauty of the historic buildings. There are further development plans with the city for the Missouri State Penitentiary and Adrian’s Island. The city is close to being able to take possession of some of the east penitentiary ground for development. Committees have also projected an intersection to be added near the 900 block of Capitol heading toward the Island that will lead to greater development and innovations for Jefferson City.

 
 600 Capitol Ave

600 Capitol Ave

 

This historic stretch of land is a part of the framework that makes Jefferson City what it is. Capitol Avenue combines both the history and modern development of a town in one small stretch. It offers the ability of the American Dream to own your own home or even build your business. In the middle of the country, resting on top of a hill in a small town, Capitol Avenue stands tall with bold history and progress. Jefferson City has not only proved itself to be a thriving city for businesses and leaders alike, but it is also the only place I will call home.

*Logan specialises in buying homes, selling homes, buying land, commercial sales, farm ground and more in Jefferson City, MO and Central Missouri. 

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