Historic Maplewood House

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Maplewood House and Historic Nifong Park

Listed on the National Historic Register, Maplewood House was built in 1877 by Slater Ensor Lenoir and his wife Margaret Bradford Lenoir, both of whom were members of Boone County pioneer families.

The farmstead was called Maplewood because it was located in a grove of large sugar maple trees. Only four people lived in the home; the Lenoirs, their daughter Lavinia, and later Lavinia’s husband, Dr. Frank G. Nifong.

Maplewood History

The main house was constructed with bricks fired on site and in part with lumber obtained on the surrounding farm. The house shows the influence of the Italianate architectural style, featuring decorative corbels supporting the projecting eave of the roof; arched windows; a bay window; a balustered front balcony and oriole window.

The original footprint of the house was T-shaped, with sleeping porches built along the south side of the house. Built with an eye to the expedience of a working farm and best practices in safety, the house included a separate summer kitchen, and originally had a covered walkway that connected to the back door of the house and the serving pantry.

Maplewood House reopens for the 2019 on April 1.

Tours are by appointment only starting April 1st on Wednesdays through Sundays between 11 AM and 3:30 pm each day until October 31st.

Tour Prices:

  • $5 per adult and $3 per youth, ages 6 to 14
  • Ages 5 and under are free

Please call a week in advance for a tour appointment.

Contact Us

In 1891 the sleeping porches were enclosed and an octagonal wing was added to the south side of the house. At the back of the house, a foundation was dug and an interior kitchen and servant’s room on the second floor were added.

With the return of the newly married Frank and Lavinia Nifong to the house in 1905, bathrooms were added to the west ends of the enclosed sleeping porches, and the house was wired for electricity. Across the front of the house, the porch was enclosed to make a sun room, and a porte cochere was added to the north side of the house, over the driveway and leading to the carriage house.

The Maplewood Farm Site

The original farmstead included 427 acres surrounding the house to the east and west. A large pond was situated south of the house. In addition to the family home, buildings on the property included the now separate summer kitchen, which later served as a cottage for family serving staff; a four-bay carriage house with storage and living quarters above; a utility house; a hay barn; and a large barn for animals. The animal barn was converted to a summer theater playhouse, called the Maplewood Barn Theater after the property was purchased by the City of Columbia. It was lost to fire in 2010 and rebuilt and dedicated in 2012,

Slater and Margaret died about a year apart in the late 1920s. In 1949 Lavinia and her husband Frank Nifong donated 107 acres of the estate to the National Benevolent Association (Disciples of Christ) as an endowment to build the Lenoir Memorial Home, now Lenoir Woods, and Lenoir Retirement Community, still located across Highway 63. After the deaths of Frank and Lavinia Nifong in the 1950s, the remainder of the estate was deeded to the Benevolent Association.

Restoration

In 1970 the City of Columbia bought 60 acres of the original farm with the house, the remaining furnishings, and the adjacent farm buildings. The area was named the Frank G. Nifong Memorial Park and today is called Historic Nifong Park in recognition of the work of historic preservation undertaken by the City of Columbia Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Boone County Historical Society. The park was formally dedicated on November 8, 1970 as a feature of the Columbia-Boone County Sesquicentennial Commission activities.

The sun room and porte cochere were removed as part of the restoration in 1976. A porch typical of he turn of the century was reconstructed across the front of the house, using photos taken around the turn of the century helped guide the restoration. Interior work included re-papering the parlors, dining room and hallway, and refinishing original the interior wood trim. Upstairs, original carpet remains on the floor.

Restored in 1976 as a bicentennial project, Maplewood House was officially dedicated and opened to the public on July 3, 1976 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places April 13, 1979. During the spring, summer and fall of 2016, the home received an ‘infrastructure renovation’ with funds provided by the City of Columbia and the Boone County Community Trust.  Repairs and improvements were made to the foundation, the HVAC system, the electrical system, plumbing, flooring and security.  The home is currently managed and curated by by the Boone County Historical Society with support and guidance from the City of Columbia Office of Cultural Affairs.

Interested in a tour?

Maplewood, along with the Village at Boone Junction, is open for tours by appointment April 1st through October 31st, Wednesdays through Sundays, 11 AM to 3:30 PM.

Special arrangements can be made for large groups.

For information call 573-443-8936 or email at officemanager@boonehistory.org.