The historic Harris House is located on West Sixth Street in Pettis County in Sedalia, Missouri. It was constructed in 1895.
This three-story house is made of brick and the architectural design is Victorian: Queen Anne. It also has a two-story tower. Another contributing structure on the property for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places is the carriage house. The property was listed on the National Register in 1979. The architect is unknown.
From the exterior, this house looks amazing considering the year it was built. The house was originally built for a local entrepreneur named Joseph Imhauser. He was born at Cole Camp in Benton County in a German settlement. For less than three years, Imhauser lived in the house. In 1898, he sold the house and some of the furnishings to Henry W. Harris.
Harris who was a successful and respected businessman, lived in the house for a long time and it stayed in the Harris family until 1977. It was purchased from Harris' daughter, Maurine Harris, by Dr. Robert W. Vit and his wife, Lorrie. (Maurine passed away in 1977; Dr. Vit passed away on September 14, 2007 at age 63.)
Henry was born in Sherburn, Kentucky on July 24, 1848. His father was also a doctor. Dr. Harris and his family settled in Linn County, Missouri.
After the Hannibal-St. Joseph railroad line was completed, Dr. Harris moved a little further south and founded Laclede, Missouri. During the Civil War, when it became too challenging to live in Laclede, he moved his family to Cooper County in Boonville. His son, Henry, attended what is now known as Kemper Military Academy graduating in 1869.
Dr. Harris retired in Pilot Grove on a farm. Henry began a career there with a mercantile and grain trade and became successful. He ran the business for 24 years. He gained the reputation as being one of the wealthiest men in the county.
In 1893, Henry dissolved his business and two years later, he and his wife of nearly 20 years, Leona, moved to Sedalia. They lived in one other home before they bought the grand house from Imhauser in 1898. According to the Find-a-Grave resource, he and his wife had seven children, with Maurine living the longest.
Henry took on the role of Director of the Missouri Trust Company of Sedalia. When the company headquarters relocated to St. Louis, Henry stayed at the Sedalia branch as the vice-president. In 1902, Henry was the president of the Third National Bank of Sedalia for about 20 years. When he retired, he then became Chairman of the Board of Directors with that bank. He held that position until he unexpectedly died on December 1, 1923. He was 75-years-old.
Henry was the first of three generations in his family to serve as President of the Third National Bank of Sedalia. His son, Henry R. Harris, succeeded him followed by his grandson, Henry W. Harris, who was serving in that position as of 1979.
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