Historical Homes

Website highlights life, music of J.W. “Blind” Boone

The house at 10 N. Fourth St., once the home of J.W. “Blind” Boone is slated for complete restoration. The outside has been renovated, but much remains to be done and a $500,000 fund-raising campaign has been kicked off.

To highlight the work of Boone, 1864-1927, the J.W. “Blind” Boone Heritage Foundation Board has launched a new website where you can learn about Boone’s life and his music. On the site, you can even hear the music of Blind Boone.


What’s truly amazing is here is a person that at the time was not allowed to live where he wanted, go where he wanted at times or eat where he’d like because he was Africa American. Today, the list of people on the board is impressive, people working to help restore the home of a person who despite prejudice and afflictions, including being blind, used the slogan, “Merit, Not Sympathy, Wins.”

Those working to restore his home include:

  • Dr. Clyde Ruffin, Chair, Professor and Chair, The Department of Theater, University of Missouri and pastor of Second Missionary Baptist Church;
  • Lucille Salerno, director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at MU;
  • Susan Altomari, Music Specialist, Lee Expressive Arts School;
  • Mary Still, Representative, District 025, Missouri House of Representatives;
  • Barbara Horrell, Associate Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri (retired);
  • Paula Roper, Social Science Librarian, University of Missouri;
  • Celestine Hayes, Music Specialist,  Ridgeway Elementary School;
  • Bill Thompson, City of Columbia;
  • Jack Batterson, Library Information Specialist, MU Libraries;
  • Bill Clark, columnist, Columbia Daily Tribune;
  • Mike Shaw, Charter Board Member, Blind Boone Park Renovation Group; President of Johnson County Historical Society;
  • Greg Olson, Curator of Exhibits and Special Events, Missouri State Archives.
Historical Homes, Resources - Reports, Schools

Teachers: There’s history in bricks and mortar

One of the things I love about learning about Columbia and Boone County’s historic places is finding new ways to use this information.

This article notes that teachers can use historic places such as those in Columbia and Boone County to teach history.

A walk through downtown Columbia would allow teachers to discuss the importance of taverns (places to gather), the changes in commerce (the former dime stores), the changes electricity caused (why the Daniel Boone Tavern had skylights), the changes in technology (the former movie palaces), the current challenges of urban development (alleys and drainage issues) and the politics of today (the city fathers helped build the Hamilton-Brown Shoe Factory and then gave it to the company).

The list could go on endlessly. Read the article below and find out what they’re doing in Sioux City.