That beautiful home, visible from Route WW - but out of earshot - will always be The Stice Place to those of us who lived here most of our lives.
The first owners we knew were the Evanses - Lolly and Uriel and their boy, Shannon. I didn’t know, or care, that Shannon was a grandson of Richard Estes, who gave the ground on which Olivet Church was built. We kids thought Shannon’s dad must have been very wealthy because he put all of Olivet Church’s collection money into a paper candy sack and put the sack in his coat pocket on "preaching Sundays."
After the Evanses’ home burned to the ground, they built another one, a lot like the one that burned and in the same location.
The community was very involved in the Evanses’ lives in those years. However, our quiet little religious community had a lot to talk about when two families from St. Louis bought family farms in our community and the two men drove, four days a week, back and forth to their offices in St. Louis.
They didn’t fit into the rural community very well, but they added two very nice homes.
One family moved the Evanses’ white frame home to a new location for their hired help. They built a huge mansion with long driveways to its front and a large garage. That’s the big home we see in our newspapers these days; it’s behind the beautiful, empty horse pasture on Route WW. Its architecture is said to be copied from a home of one of our early U.S. presidents.
The other St. Louis family - was the name Gardner? - decided against repairing their historic brick home. Instead, they chose to dismantle it, saving every handmade nail, every hammered-out door latch and hinge, and all the undamaged bricks. They had it all built back the way it was when Tom Turner’s slaves built it from about 1802 to 1804. The slaves were brought from Kentucky to dig the clay, form it into thousands of bricks, dry them and fire them in homemade kilns. They even created house plaster by crushing white limestone rocks from the creek; they strengthened the plaster with horsehair and straw!
The home is said to be the first brick mansion in Boone County, built even earlier than Gordon Manor, which "guards Columbia’s eastern portal." I’m one of the old-timers who still calls the restored home "where Pages lived" or "The Dr. Smidke place."
I was away when a new family moved to the Evans location and was attending Sunday school and church at Olivet. It was not easy for Maurice Stice, an attorney, to get around on crutches, but he didn’t complain. The family’s five young people were almost grown. The youngest one was preparing for a career in medicine. None of the five had time for our Harg Hustlers’ 4-H Club, but the Stices offered their lake for picnics and fishing.
To be continued another Monday.