Columbia, MO

The Taylor House: once a B&B and featured on a TV show, it's over a century old

CJ Coombs
John N. and Elizabeth Taylor House, Columbia, Missouri.Photo byHornColumbia, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The John N. and Elizabeth Taylor House, also called the Taylor House, is located at 716 West Broadway in Columbia, Missouri (Boone County). This historic two-and-a-half-story home was built in 1909, over a century ago. On May 25, 2001, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2010, this privately owned home became part of the West Broadway Historic District.

The architectural style is Colonial Revival and it's unknown who the architect or builder was. It has an attractive large front porch and a side porte cochere. There was restoration performed on the home. It served as Taylor House Bed & Breakfast, but associated website and Facebook page are not available.

This house has been on HGTV

Interestingly, this house was featured in an HGTV segment called If walls could talk some 15 years ago. Visit here to view that segment to learn about the historic letters found in the home.

The foundation of the home is stone and the walls are weatherboard. In 1999, when the home was purchased, there were three apartments upstairs. The home is significant because of its architecture. At the time the house was nominated for the National Register, it was nearing the end of a major rehabilitation.

More house details

The house faces north in a residential neighborhood and sits close to the center on a level lot that's about 3/4 of an acre. The first and second floors are relatively large with a smaller third floor. In 1935, the spaces were converted into apartments. With the rehabilitation, the two lower floors were reversed to the single-family dwelling, but the apartment configuration on the third floor was kept.

The house is located in the Westwood subdivision. Westwood was platted and developed by a former judge of Boone County named John A. Stewart. The Taylors who were said to be his best early customers, purchased land for their home from him. The Taylors paid for six of the large lots which comprised about 19 acres. They built their home on the north end facing West Broadway. For two decades, the surrounding land was open.

John Newton Taylor

John Taylor was 57-year-old successful businessman by the time this house was built. At the time he purchased the land, he wasn't living in Columbia. He was familiar with the neighborhood because he owned a music store for 13 years in Columbia.

Taylor was born in Pennsylvania in 1850. He went to school until he was 12 and after that, he was an apprentice to a cabinet maker. In 1865, he traveled to Sigourney, Iowa, and worked as a cabinet maker there. In 1870, he married Lida Stroup who was from Sigourney. They moved to Huntsville, Missouri to open a furniture and undertaking business.

In 1886, Lida died. Taylor and Lida had four daughters. In 1890, Taylor married Elizabeth F. Reed who was from Huntsville. Together, they had seven children. He had several piano and furniture stores in mid-Missouri towns which included Columbia. It wasn't until 1907, when the Taylors purchased their land from Stewart and they probably didn't move to Columbia until their house was completed.

The Taylor's seven of the 11 children were under high school age when the house was constructed. A son named John Taylor, Jr. resided in the house while attending college in Columbia. It's believed they had a daughter who attended Stephens College, to which Taylor was a donor. He was also a member of the Board of Curators there for 20 years.

Sometime after the Taylors moved to Columbia, Taylor started focusing his business career on automobiles. He acquired a local Dodge dealership and was a piano and automobile dealer in 1917. By 1920, he was out of the music business.

The Taylors lived in the now-historic home for the remainder of their lives. John Taylor died in the home at age 83 in 1932. He was such a notable figure in the community that even the mayor and city council attended. One of Taylor's sons, Thomas, was a City Councilman at that time.

Elizabeth stayed in the house with her daughter, Eleanor, who was an assistant professor at the University of Missouri. Possibly with the effects of the Depression, in 1935, Elizabeth retained an architect to have plans drawn up dividing the house into three apartments. She and Eleanor continued to live in the house and it's assumed they rented out the apartments.

The surrounding acreage of the Taylor property was under Elizabeth's ownership. She filed for a plat called Taylor's Subdivision in 1938. That was divided into three large lots facing West Broadway. There were also 25 smaller ones around a road named Taylor Avenue, which was later renamed Lindell Drive.

John Newton Taylor died on September 18, 1932, at age 82. Elizabeth Frances “Bettie” Reed Taylor died on June 19, 1945, at age 84. All 11 children are no longer living.

The future of the house

The house served as rental property into the late 1990s. In 1999, the house was purchased and it was with these owners that rehabilitation on the house started in 2000. The goal was to have the house restored to its original appearance. It also served as a bed and breakfast called the Taylor House Inn.

In the fall of 2012, the Columbia Missourian reported that the house was looking neglected and was supposedly in foreclosure. Apparently over $1 million was put into the renovations. It opened as Taylor House Inn in 2001, which closed in 2004. Later that year, it was put on the market for $1.4 million.

Selling the house was reconsidered by the owners and it was reopened as a bed and breakfast in 2007 (according to the Columbia Missourian), which is interesting because according to the Redfin real estate website, the house was last sold in March 2006.

Thanks for reading.

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Multi-genre writer and author/publisher with a BA in Eng Journalism/Creative Writing. I worked in law firms for 30+ years and retired early to pursue writing. I was born into the Air Force, so you could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, research, history, true crime, reading, art, and travel.

Kansas City, MO

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