The Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation (Missouri Preservation) announced its 2017 list of historic Places in Peril on Friday evening, August 25, 2017 at a special “Unhappy Hour” event at the National Building Arts Center, which is located in Sauget Illinois just across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis. Seven new endangered historic places were named to the list for 2017 and six were carried over from the previous year, including the Emmaus Homes located in Marthasville, Missouri. Missouri Preservation is a statewide non-profit organization that has at its core a mission to advocate for, educate about and assist in the preservation of architectural and historic landmarks that embody Missouri’s unique heritage and sense of place. Its chief advocacy program is its “Places in Peril”. Begun as a media campaign in 2000 as “Missouri’s Most Endangered Historic Places,” the program calls attention to endangered historic resources statewide that are threatened by deterioration, lack of maintenance, insufficient funds, imminent demolition and/or inappropriate development. The program was renamed “Places in Peril” in 2015. Once a historic resource is gone, it’s gone forever. By publicizing these places the organization hopes to build support toward the eventual preservation of each property named.
While it is acknowledged that not every historic resource named here can be rescued, the efficacy of the Places in Peril Program will be proven in the many instances where by advocating publicly for its preservation, and planning for its continued contribution to Missouri’s built environment, many an imperiled property will indeed find rehabilitation and ongoing preservation, contributing to the education and enjoyment of future generations of Missourians.
The Emmaus Home Complex in Marthasville
The Emmaus Home Complex in Marthasville began as a seminary for the German Evangelical Church in Missouri. A campus of five buildings was completed here by 1859. Four of these remain in various states of repair, those being the Farm House, Bake Oven, Friedensbote (Messenger of Peace) Publishing House, and the Dormitory. The College Building itself was lost to a fire in 1930. The seminary was in operation at this site until 1883, when it moved to St. Louis and eventually became Eden Seminary.
In 1893 the campus in Marthasville became known the Emmaus Asylum for Epileptics
and Feeble Minded. The campus grew to a total of eight substantial buildings including
a chapel, by 1928. In more recent years the religious denomination became the United
Church of Christ and the two campuses the church body owned – this one in Warren
County for men, and the other in St. Charles County for women – became known simply
as the Emmaus Homes. This is an important historic site, having been constructed by
some of the tens of thousands of Germans who emigrated here beginning in the 1830s.
In the area the first Evangelical church west of the Mississippi was constructed, and this
marked the beginning of the Synod of the west, known as Der Deutsche Evangelisch
Kirchenverein des Westens. The buildings in the complex are unique in that they are of
sturdy limestone construction in varying German styles by German immigrants. They
are representative of the tenacity of some of Missouri’s earliest Germans, and are
unique in that most are original with very few modifications over the years. Through the
years the approach toward caring for the handicapped and developmentally disabled
has also changed, and care for the residents at Emmaus has shifted from large
institutional settings to smaller group homes. Emmaus has indicated that they wish to
transition all clients away from Marthasville by 2020. It is hoped that by listing this
campus on the list of Missouri’s Places in Peril that when it comes time to dispose of the
campus, that Emmaus Homes will seek to find a reuse for this campus that will preserve
the historic buildings located here.
- For More Information: Missouri Preservation, 319 N. 4th Street, Suite 850, St. Louis, Missouri 63102, Executive Director, Bill Hart, (314)691-1941, Administrator, Riley Price (660)882-5946 Photo and article from Missouri Preservation.
An update on the Memorial plans here in Missouri…
It is with great sadness that the family of Scott Daniel Ruffner, of Bangor, ME and rural Hermann, MO, notes the sudden passing of their dear son, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, and nephew on May 29, 2017, at the age of 66.
Born in Columbia, MO on November 5th, 1950,Scott was the son of Wallace C. Ruffner (deceased) and Mrs. Leora M. Buschmann Ruffner Scheer, who survives at her home in Hermann, and the stepson of Alfred J. Scheer (deceased).
He is also survived by one brother Robert, a sister Christine Ruffner, and nephew Bernard Bingham all of Columbia, MO; a sister Martha (Scheer) Melsha, brother-in-law Jeffrey Melsha, nephew Jacob Melsha, and niece Olivia Melsha all of Kirkwood, MO. Also surviving is his best friend and partnerChristiane Duespohl of Freiburg, Germany;and an aunt, Mrs. Doris Meyer of Linn Creek, MO, and many relatives and friends.
Scott was very generous, kind, helpful,and adventurous, with a positive outlook and keensense of humor. He made many trips to visit friends and relatives in Europe, especially Germany.His engaging personality and many interests resulted in many friendships near and far.
He began his education in a rural one-room schoolhouse near Bay. He graduated from Hermann High School and received a BA degree in German language from the University of MO-Columbia and spoke German fluently. During his school years, he participated in many activities and sports.
Scott began farmingat 15 and continued for many years before moving to Maine, returning seasonally to his farm.As a young man, he also briefly worked with the National Park Service.
He was proud to have helped his elderly grandparents as well as helping other elderly neighbors. He was interested in the ancestry and history of these local families and recorded and shared many of the local stories and lore.
Throughout his life, Scott was interested in many topics, including history, genealogy, poetry, music, art, current events, and the German migration to the Hermann area, just to name a few. He loved nature and all it offered.
He moved to Maine in 1982 and worked as a real estate broker, where he helped many loyal customers, many of whom became good friends. Maine was a great place for his adventurous and energetic spirit, allowing him to pursue many outdoor activities, especially sailing in the Penobscot Bay and other areas.
Scott’s concerns about peace, justice, social, and environmental causes started while in high school and continued throughout his life. While in Maine, he was very active in politics at local, state, and national levels, working with Democratic and other organizations to promote fair and just policies to help those in need.
While in MO, Scott enjoyed many visitswith hismother, family and friends.He lovedmusic, andattendingconcerts, especially those of his niece and nephew. He also frequently attended various local historical meetings. He wascurrently renovating his historic Bay Mercantile store building for useas a museum about the local history of the Bay area, a project that continues.
Scott will be missed by many. He will long be remembered for his friendship, many kindnesses, honesty, generosity, andenthusiastic good-natured spirit.
A memorial celebration of Scott’s life will be held on Sunday, August 13, 2017, 3:00, at Hermann Hill Village, east of downtown Hermann.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Scott’s memory to the Ruffner family to support their efforts to fulfill Scott’s dream of restoring the historic Bay Mercantile store building(to Robert Ruffner, c/o Mrs. Leora M. Scheer, 2331 Hwy 100, Hermann, MO 65041).
Nachruf/Obituary Scott Ruffner
Scott Daniel Ruffner (11/5/1950 – 5/29/2017), of Bangor, Maine, and Hermann (Bay) Missouri –
It is with great sadness that Scott Ruffner’s family and friends share the news that Scott died unexpectedly from a heart-related condition, on May 29, 2017, in Missouri. Scott was an energetic and passionate person, and had a unique joie de vivre, with an infectious laugh and a humorous sense of the absurd. He loved to bring people together to discuss national, state, and local politics; his family and farm in Missouri, German wines, and his various projects.
Scott traveled regularly to Germany to spend time with his best friend and partner Christiane Duespohl, of Freiburg, and she regularly traveled to Bangor and Missouri as well. He lived and worked on the family farm near the small town of Bay for many years, and along with his brother Robert, began working the farm at age 15. Over the past year, he was also excited about his plans to host a large total solar eclipse party for his friends and family in Missouri, in August.
Scott received a BA degree in German from the University of Missouri (Columbia), and he spoke German fluently. He moved to Maine in 1983 with his former long-term partner, Naomi Jacobs of Bangor, and began to sell real estate about 10 years later. He was an avid sailor, and an active member of the Penobscot Cruising Club. He loved to invite friends to join him in sailing from the Hampden Marina to Belfast and the Penobscot Bay.
Scott was involved in many groups and causes, ranging from Maine Veterans for Peace and the Peace and Justice Center in Bangor, to the local Democratic Party in Penobscot County,and was a member of the Maine Democratic State Committee for many years. He was also a delegate at the 2008 National Democratic Convention, and worked hard in the recent Maine efforts to implement rank choice voting. Scott’s friend Par Kettis describes him: “He had the great combination of being aware of the political problems of our time and wanting to discuss them, also having ideas about how to solve the problems, and was finally prepared to do something active about it. Scott was much admired and liked by many people. We will long remember his kindness, honesty, concern for all people, especially those less privileged; and his preparedness to stand up for what he believed in.”
Scott also loved music and poetry, and the German language. He did extensive research on the local history of Hermann, Missouri, and the German migration to Hermann in the 1800’s. It was his dream to establish a museum on Hermann’s and Bay’s local heritage in the former Bay post office and store building, which he bought for this purpose, and he hoped to recruit both people and funding to make this a reality.
He is survived by his mother, Leora Ruffner Scheer; brother, Robert Ruffner; sisters Christine Ruffner and Martha Melsha (nee Scheer); brother-in-law Jeffrey Melsha; nephews Bernard Bingham and Jacob Melsha, and niece Olivia Melsha; and his beloved long-term partner of several years, Christiane Duespohl of Freiburg, Germany. He was predeceased by his father, Wallace C. Ruffner, and stepfather Alfred Scheer.
In addition to a family service in Missouri in August and a service in Freiburg, Germany, there will be a local service and celebration of Scott’s life on Sunday, July 23rd, at the Sea Dog in Bangor, at 2:00 p.m., followed by a reception. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in his memory to Veterans for Peace 003, Jim Harney Chapter or to the Ruffner family, to support their efforts to fulfill Scott’s dream of restoring the historic Bay store building (donation checks made out to Robert Ruffner, and sent to Robert Ruffner, c/o Mrs. Leora M. Scheer. 2331 Hwy 100, Hermann, MO 65041.