Thomson House demolished after fire, Independence deems building a safety risk

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — On Tuesday, crews began the process of tearing down the Thomson House after a fire one day before caused significant damage.

The historic home caught on fire for the third time in less than a year Monday afternoon.

“I just wanted to put a piece of history and add it to my collection,” said Steve Taylor, who was collecting bricks Tuesday.

Collecting bricks from antebellum homes is nothing new for Taylor.

“I’ll go home and label it and put them with the others I have,” Taylor said.

On Tuesday he was gathering bricks from the Thomson House in Independence after the city decided to tear it down. Officials said it’s now a public health and safety risk.

“It survived the Civil War through here, and then to see it go the way it did, it’s just way disheartening,” Taylor said.

The city said the home is too dangerous to remain standing.

For Jamie Schneider, collecting the bricks were personal.

“They use to live up in that area, and we had all of our family functions here growing up,” Schneider said.

To the community in the late 1960s, the house was Las Playas Mexican Restaurant. But for Schneider’s family, it was home. 

Her great grandparents bought the house in 1968. It belonged to the family up until they sold it more than 20 years later.

The Thompson House dates back to 1855. A historical plaque in front of the building says the home was originally owned by Benjamin Franklin Thomson and built with slave labor.

People who came out to see or take pictures of the Thomson House on Tuesday said they feel like the home could’ve been saved if someone had paid more attention to it.

Investigators said someone started the fire, but they have not ruled it as arson at this time.

The city said clean up at the home will happen at a later time.

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