The Washington Historical Society is offering tours of four area properties that, together, tell a story of Washington’s past. The buildings on the docket are the Kohmueller House, the AME Annex, the Firehouse Museum and the Washington Historical Society Museum.
The event will be Saturday, Oct. 24, from 1 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased online at washmohistorical.org/tour-tickets. Participants must wear face coverings and follow social distancing guidelines.
The Kohmueller house, nestled where Grand Avenue meets S Lake Shore Drive, is a brick farmstead home with a brick smokehouse dating back to the mid-1800s. An 1878 notice in The Missourian cited a pricetag of $435. A barn was added in 1908. In 1989, the Washington Preservation Inc. secured permission to restore the property, and in 2012 when the group disbanded, the responsibility fell to the Washington Historical Society, which currently uses the property for living history demonstrations.
The history of the AME Annex at Walnut and Fourth streets is closely tied with St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal Church, built in 1891. The building was used actively by congregations until 1990. The city considered demolition the building, which had deteriorated substantially over the previous century, but instead the Washington Historical Society purchased it in 2004 with the goal of restoring the building to its former glory. It now provides a home to the Franklin County archives from 1818 — when the county was founded — through the 1960s, such as old newspapers, which previously had been bound for a landfill, wills and estates, county commission minutes and more. The facility has more than 700 volumes of records, which are in the process of being transferred to microfilm.
The third stop on the docket, the Firehouse Museum at Fifth and Stafford streets, houses three antique firetrucks and three of Washington’s earliest passenger vehicles. A 1917 Model T Ford, the town’s first motor-driven fire truck, is on display, as is a rare 1908 Economy Motor Buggy and the oldest car in the city, a 1907 Ford purchased new by Henry Sulltrop.
Finally, participants are encouraged to spend time at the Washington Historical Society Museum at Fourth and Market streets, a 6,000-square-foot treasure trove of exhibits detailing everything from Washington’s corn cob pipes to its involvement in the World Wars and its history of Native Americans. There will also be a raffle, and a silent auction of antiques and momentos will start before the tours and end at 5 p.m.