The Oliver House

On the northwest corner of the junction of Adams and Ohio Streets in Jackson, Missouri, stands a stately two-story brick house, constructed of handmade bricks. It is uncertain exactly when the house was built. It can be conjectured, however, researching through deed and old land tax records, that some type of dwelling occupied the property when John Cramer mortgaged it in 1848. The mortgage document contained the wording "the place where said Cramer now lives." Jacob Tobler purchased the property in 1854 for $425 and sold one year later for $1,110 to Bernard and Sarah Ann Ferguson. This increase in value represents a considerable improvement to the property which could very well be the enlargement of the house.

"If these walls could talk" they would certainly expound on the illustrious history this house witnessed its first 50 years. George Ferguson owned and operated a general merchandizing business in Jackson. His son, Bernard, engineered and installed the first telephone in Cape Girardeau County, which connected this house with his father's business in Jackson. In 1877, the line was extended to Cape Girardeau and was the first long distance telephone line in Missouri.

In 1881, RB and Marie Oliver purchased this house for $2,500, three years following the establishment of RB's law practice in Jackson. RB became Prosecuting Attorney for Cape Girardeau County. In 1882 Mr. Oliver was elected to the State Senate and while Senator, entertained many distinguished visitors, among them William Jennings Bryan and Missouri Governor David Francis.

1919 Before restoration 1965

Beginning restoration 1967 After restoration 1984

During the restoration of the house, workers removed plaster from the upstairs bedroom and it was revealed that at one time, the front portion of the house was a one-and-a-half story with two dormer windows. The restoration could not have come soon enough. Termites had eaten much of the joists beneath the floors, 29 windows needed repairing and glazing, and the roof needed replacing. After sandblasting the white paint from the red bricks, the bricks needed tuck pointing.

© 2002 Jackson Heritage Association
Photograghs belong to the Jackson Heritage Association
and may not be copied or used without permission.