CLARKTON, MO (KFVS) - The Charles and Bettie Birthright House in Clarkton has been named to the 2012 Missouri's Most Endangered Historic Places list.
The house at 109 South Main Street was home to Charles and Bettie Birthright, former slaves who achieved economic independence and prosperity for 40 years, according to the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation.
The couple built close ties with the families that had held them in slavery.
The barber and seamstress became wealthy through commercial and farming operations.
By 1901, Charles was part of a group of men cited by local press as "Dunklin County's greatness."
The couple donated funds to construct the 1884 and 1911 school buildings in Clarkton.
After they died, their estate went to the Stillman Institute in Tuscaloosa, Alabama which was the single largest charitable contribution to the college until the 1980s.
The house has suffered extreme termite damage and structural problems from recent earthquake activity.
The Clarkton Historical Society hopes the listing will reach supporters to help the home and to develop it into an interpretive site for educational purposes.
The Delmo Community Center in Pemiscot County, the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad Depot in Madison county, The Russell Hotel in Charleston, and The Jefferson School in Cape Girardeau are on the 2012 watched properties list.
Learn more from the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation's website.