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Columbia City Council talks of potential purchase of historic McKinney building

EDITOR'S NOTE: Details about when McKinney died and the building was converted were corrected.


The Columbia City Council is considering purchasing of the historic McKinney building at the council meeting set for Monday at 7 p.m.

Built in 1917, the McKinney building located on 411 E. Broadway in Downtown Columbia as a famous spot for black culture and history. Serving as a commercial structure, the two story building also had a dance hall and other halls for jazz musicians to come play.

Following the death of founder Frank McKinney in the 1930s, the building was converted into various types of business, including a chicken hatchery and other retail businesses entered the space in the 1950s.

Council has negotiated an offer with property owners Rick and Kimi Rother of $1.5 million. Staff is requesting an additional $200,000 to put towards the building to cover closing costs and a variety of repairs.

While it is unclear what exactly will be made of the building, Research Librarian at Boone County History and Culture Society Matt Fetterly hopes the city will be consistent with its history.

"I think anybody who is aware of the history of that building would like it to be used in a way thats congruent with it's history," Fetterly said. "It might be used by the Black community, the jazz community, maybe both or a shared space because its such a huge building theres so much that could go in there."

According to the Historical Marker Database, music legends like Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday have performed in McKinney hall, located on the second floor of the building.

“The McKinney building is really the best surviving example in Downtown Columbia of a commercial and social space of the black community," Fetterly said.

According to city council documents, the staff is looking to establish a committee of local historians and community members to discuss potential options for how the building is going to be used once renovations are done. 

Documents also say the city anticipates working with another organization to manage and maintain the building once it is ready.

The council meeting will be held at city hall.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia City Government

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Gabrielle Teiner


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