Church House (aka Barrow House)

Church House, also known as the Barrow House, is a historic mansion located at 312 West Seventh in the West End Historic District. Situated on a wooded lot overlooking West Seventh, two blocks from downtown Columbia. This two- and one-half story tall three bay wide single-family residence is one of the best examples of Second Empire style of architecture in Columbia and one of the grandest late-nineteenth-century houses in the city. 

Historic photo

Historic Image of the Church House

The home was erected in ca. 1873 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Located in an area which still contains a number of large late-nineteenth-century house, the wealthy and prominent resided here. Maury County Sheriff Latta reputedly built the Barrow House. Robert Church, a banker and land speculator purchased it in ca. 1885. Including Robert and his descendants, the Church House was a family home for about 100 years.

Designed in the Second Empire architectural style, so named for the architectural elements in vogue during the era of the Second French Empire. As this style evolved form its 17th-century Renaissance foundations, it acquired a mix of earlier European styles, most notably the Baroque, often combined with mansard roofs and/or low, square-based domes. 

The Barrow House is imposing and distinctive, resting on a cut and coursed stone foundation, it looms over West Seventh Street creating a grandiose picturesque site for all passing by this historic home. Its decidedly three-dimensional massing, profuse ornamentation, and the combination of attached and semi-detached dependencies are distinctive. The façade porch, with its effusive decorative elements, and the bay windows in the east and south elevations emphasize the horizontal lines of the building, and in part, balance the predominant verticality of the tower and mansard roof. Except for the façade (south elevation), which was laid in stretcher bond, the walls were laid in common bond. The center bay of the façade projects forward and has a tower. A heavily ornamented round arch defines the entrance to the enclosed porch at the base of the tower section. The east and west bays are set back one more than the other; the former has a covered one-story porch with carved posts, spandrels, and balustrade while the latter has bay windows with round-head, on-over-one windows.

Block-like and staggered in its form and irregular plan, and highlighted with massive detailing, this impressive brick house epitomizes the Second Empire style at its most imposing best.

street front

Contemporary Image of the Church House

For more information about Columbia's Historic Zoning program, contact Planner II, Robert Archibald, or City Planner Kevin C. McCarthy, AICP.