New Franklin, Howard County
Tours and Events
* June 30, 2012
Research/Lab Technician, Senior:
10 Research Center Rd.
New Franklin, MO 65274
Hickman House Rehabilitation Complete
The 1819 Thomas Hickman House is a historical Missouri treasure located at
the University of Missouri Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center, New
"The most remarkable
home in the county and indeed in Central Missouri, is the Hickman House..."
"It was elaborate for
its period, very comfortable and spacious. The bricks are well made and of
excellent color and carefully laid..."
- The Fayette Advertiser, August 1934
One of Missouri's oldest intact brick houses, the Thomas Hickman House, was
built in 1819 and stands on the property of the University of Missouri
Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center (HARC). The Research Center,
located in New Franklin, Mo., encompasses more than 600 acres of scenic Missouri
River Hills landscape and contains numerous varieties of fruit and nut trees and
horticultural plantings. A highlight of the Research Center is the Hickman House,
which depicts important aspects of early 19th century
agricultural living in Missouri.
The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
The 1,800 square-foot house represents the southern "Georgian" cottage design, a
distinctive architectural style that hallmarks the early development of the
Boonslick region of Missouri. Thomas Hickman, one of the original settlers of
Howard County, was a local businessman who bought the land on which the home
rests. The house is just two miles from Old Franklin - the site where
William Becknell and his party began the legendary Santa Fe Trail in 1821. p>
Thomas Hickman and his wife Sarah M. Prewitt came to the Boonslick area of
Missouri from Bourbon County, Ky., around 1818. One of Hickman's business
ventures included a partnership with Wm. Lamme & Co., a dry goods and hardware
business in nearby Old Franklin. The one and a half-story house is constructed
of hand-made brick and built on a stone foundation. The large eight-foot-wide
central hallway provides access to three of the four main rooms and an
unfinished attic. The house was intact but in need of
serious restoration to convey the story of early 19th century
agricultural life in the Missouri River Hills region.
|Left: Exterior view of non-original window, prior to restoration. |
Right: Replica historic window featuring a double-hung wood sash with 12/12 historically accurate divided lights.
|University of Missouri researchers excavate the summer kitchen site.|
A complete, $1.3 million rehabilitation was completed in 2009 to bring the home
to its historic condition. Restoration-construction experts had much original material
to work with - exterior brick, stone foundation, floor joists, walnut flooring,
cabinets, sills, interior molding and chair rails. That said, the home was in a
state of crumbling. Rehabilitation efforts included pouring a new foundation;
restoring original window size and replacing panes and sashes; reshingling the
roof in period materials; removing paint from and stabilizing exterior brick;
refinishing original floors and woodwork; and restoring interior plaster.
In addition, the four chimneys were rebuilt from a state of disrepair and a summer kitchen
was reconstructed based on archeological and historical information.
See article about Hickman House rehabilitation in Spring 2008 issue
|West side of the 1819 Hickman House under restoration.|
In addition to the rehabilitation efforts, the home has been furnished in period style,
and contains displays and artifacts of the history of the Hickman family and the area.
Many helped bring the project to completion. Neighbors have shared area
ative American artifacts to display in the home. A man who saved window panes
from a destroyed 19-century building in the area donated them for historical accuracy.
Bricks for the summer kitchen and various chimneys came from another period area home.
A related family loaned two portraits of the Hickman family. Others have donated
period furniture, clothing, or their time or money for securing items to display.
HARC Superintendent Ray Glendening researched the Hickman family and created a
family tree going back to the 1500s - now viewable in the home.
Other items displayed - including buttons, coins and utensils - were found on-site
during the archeological dig by University of Missouri experts a decade ago.
In 1996, the University received a generous gift to support restoration of the
Hickman House, and the work began in earnest.
|December 2005: Senator Kit Bond, left, and former Center for Agroforestry Director Gene Garrett, right, explore the home’s architectural hallmarks during the formal announcement of $500,000 in federal funds to be allocated to the restoration project. Photo: Jason Jenkins|
In November of 2005, Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond announced $500,000 in federal funds
has been secured to restore the historic homestead.(Read more about this
In addition to federal funding, in 2005, the MU College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources
presented a match of $250,000 for the restoration project. 2007 brought the final piece
of the funding puzzle, as the Missouri Department of Economic Development presented the
city of New Franklin, Mo., with a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant for the home's rehabilitation.
For Generations to Come
Although the Hickman House has undergone an amazing rehabilitation, the project is not complete.
With your help, we will continue our goal of securing period furnishings, constructing
a white picket fence around the house, restoring the family cemetery and locating and reconstructing
one or more out-buildings. You can help preserve a Missouri treasure for generations to come.
With your support, the Hickman homestead will remain one of the most significant examples of early
American architecture in the state-and across the country. To contribute to the
Thomas Hickman House restoration effort, contact Dr. Gene Garrett, former HARC superintendent,
We appreciate your interest in and dedication to the 1819 Thomas Hickman House!
Join us each October for the annual
Missouri Chestnut Roast to take a guided tour of Hickman House.
The Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station is the research arm of the
College of Agriculture, Food and Natural
at the University of Missouri-Columbia
Site maintained by people at AgEBB