An American dream still stands after 181 years

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BOONVILLE - One house has stood for almost two centuries, owned by the same family all that time.

Built in 1836, the Hain House was the first ever family dwelling in Boonville.

Like most immigrants, George Hain came to America looking to start a new life.

"He had heard where he could get land available for anyone no matter what their economic status was, even way back then," said Executive Director for the Friends of Historic Boonville Melissa Strawhun.

The building was originally a two-room, walnut log cabin and expanded through the years.

"As the family grew, the house grew, so they kind of add a box and a door, and it kind of grew as the family grew," Strawhun said.

George Hain and his wife Sophia had four children.

After George passed, he left the house to Sophia with one condition, "she could not remarry. If she remarried, then she lost everything," Strawhun said.

Eventually in 1887, Sophia remarried and her son George John threw her out of the house.

George John raised five children with his wife, and after both of their passings, the house was left to their twin daughters, Alice and Agnes.

The twin sisters lived in the house until their deaths. Agnes outlived her sister by 22 years, dying in 1981.

After Agnes' death, the city wanted to tear the house down and put a parking lot in its place.

"The citizens of Boonville are all about history. We are all about preservation, so we rallied together, and it was eventually purchased and saved it from initial demolition," Strawhun said.

The house was later purchased by the Crosby Kemper Foundation of Kansas City, who donated it to the Friends of Historic Boonville. 

The Hain House now caters to various events, and the Friends of Historic Boonville gives tours of it. The house is filled with donated period pieces, including Agnes Hain's original bed. The community of Boonville works together year round to bring life to the garden, planting over 500 flowers every year. 

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