Old Columbus Park Saloon Building to House Art Studio

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The Columbus Park building the Dahlquists plan to renovate opened in 1904 as a saloon and pool hall. (Photo courtesy Chris Dahlquist)

By Kevin Collison

A creative couple who’ve come to love the Columbus Park neighborhood since moving there 20 years ago are planning to renovate a historic building that was once a saloon into a studio and gallery.

Fine arts photographer Chris Dahlquist and her husband, musician Kyle Dahlquist, have acquired the old commercial building at 1023 Missouri Ave. and expect to have it renovated and back in operation in about a year.

The 4,000 square-foot, two-level building and an adjoining former residence is in rough shape and will require extensive renovation including new utilities and stabilization.

“We’ll be taking it down to the exterior brick walls,” Chris said.

“Our immediate use of the building will be an art studio and gallery.

The old corner building has been vacant since the early 1970s and will require extensive renovation work.

“We’ve lived across the street for a long time and my studio is currently right down the street. We’ve spent almost a year trying to figure out what’s possible.:

Chris said the couple moved to Columbus Park in 2002.

“It’s a very tight neighborhood and close to downtown and all the amenities,” she said.  “It’s super diverse, both in terms of its residents and architecture.

“The neighborhood and community feel of it is second to none.”

The Dahlquists will be the fourth family to own the building at the southwest corner of Missouri and Gillis. It opened in 1904 as a saloon and pool hall with an upstairs apartment. The adjoining house was completed in 1912.

In later years the building housed a restaurant, but it’s been vacant since the late 1990s.

“Over the years, it’s always been a neighborhood business run by people in the neighborhood,” she said.

The couple plan to begin its renovation soon and expect it will take about one year to complete the project.

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