Events, Research

Temporary closure of research center!

If you’re a Columbia history researcher, here’s news you need right now! The Research Center of the State Historical Society of Missouri is going to close on April 19 until it reopens Aug. 12, 2019.

Other options are listed below. But where will you turn? Share some other ideas and resources in the comments or on the Facebook page Comohistoricplaces.

Another reason to get going now is new building openings are often delayed, it might actually open a bit later than Aug. 12.

The Society’s other research centers will still be open, but that means a drive to Cape Girardeau, Kansas City, Rolla, Springfield or St. Joseph. Not that far, but not across the street either.

Here’s more information about this temporary suspension of services.

Other options:

  • Columbia Public Library — Don’t freak out too much. The Columbia Public Library will still be open with its research offerings in house and online from home using your library card to log in or online resources at the library such as

Not ready to research on your own? The library offers free classes including one on how to use HeritageQuest. The next one will be 9:30-11 a.m. There is also drop-in genealogy help at various times and days. Check out the library’s website for more information.

  • The Boone County History and Culture Center — In addition to exhibits and a large bookstore, the BCHCC has a research library available by appointment. The research library is staffed by volunteers, so call ahead to make sure it’s open. You can also contact the research library volunteers to ask questions and get guidance. (Full disclosure: I’m a volunteer there one afternoon a week and am always finding new resources.)
  • The Genealogy Society of Boone County & Central Missouri is also housed in the Boone County History and Culture Center. The website for the GSBCCM includes a list of the resources available there. Again, it is staffed by volunteers to check to make sure someone is there so you can access the materials

So what resources do you use for historical research? Hit me in the comments or head over to the Facebook page Comohistoricplaces for this website.



CoMo200, Get involved, National Register of Historic Places

Seeking S. K. Cho, a downtown surprise

I love historical surprises, like the one I found today. And now I’m on the trail for S.K. Cho, whoever she or he might be. If you know who this 1930s person was or is, I’d love to hear from you.

Yes, I’m a government docs nerd and today, I was re-reading a 2006 National Register of Historic Places document. It covers, “Parts of 7th, 8th, 9th, E. Broadway, Cherry, Hitt, Locust, and E. Walnut Street.” 

I decided to make the information on the report more accessible by typing out the lists of addresses and owners or names of the building.

That’s when I stumbled onto this information: 912 E. Walnut; Cho, S.K. Building, ca. 1930. “A very small, two story, Craftsman style two-part commercial block, with a flat roof and brick walls. It has a small hipped hood along the front and side roofline and a set of three windows in a single second floor opening. The 1/1 windows are newer. The storefront opening consists of a single doorway connected to a display window — the wall of the building runs beneath the display window in lieu of a separate bulkhead. That opening is intack; the door and window are newer. This is the smallest two-part commercial block in the downtown area.”

Cho is a Korean or Japanese family name, according to Google, and I hope this building and this name is a way for me to peek into what seems to be a lesser known part of Columbia’s history — at least to me.

Asia calling 

Columbia has a long connection with Asia, including through the MU School of Journalism established in 1908. Walter Williams, founder of the school, helped found a journalism school at St. John University in Shanghai in 1928, according to this undated article about the Historic Francis Quadrangle on the MU campus.

While the Chinese connection is documented, the Korean or Japanese connections in Columbia seem less visible to me.

That’s where you come in.

Why this matters now

Columbia has a multitude of communities within it and many of them often go unreported, unnoticed or simply overlooked.

The Korean community might be one such community. For example, I know that the Korean First Presyberian Church meets in the First Presbyterian Church at 16 Hitt Street. I know there is a Baptist Korean Church.

But I don’t know the story of the Korean or other Asian communities in Columbia.

I hope you do and you might be willing to share that or step up to tell it because in 2021, Columbia will be celebrating its bicentennial and it’s important that everyone’s story gets told to celebrate this city’s vibrant existence.

How can I get involved?

You have three ways to get involved.

  • Reply to this post or comment on Facebook Comohistoricplaces with the information you know about any community you think should be covered for our 2021 celebration.
  • Contact the CoMo200 folks.
  • Attend the CoMo200 History Working Group meeting. There we’ll be sorting out how to create Columbia’s history. The Working Group meets at 5 p.m. the third Tuesday of every month room C in City Hall.

Are there any other overlooked groups? Are there other stories waiting to be told? It’s your turn. Tell your community’s story.



Black History, CoMo200, Events, University of Missouri, Women

I’m obnoxious. Here’s why

And I want you to get on the same bandwagon I’m on — working to get black history included in our upcoming 2021 bicentennial celebration of Columbia, Missouri.

In fact, I don’t just want you to get involved, I need you to get involved because a lot of history, black and otherwise, hasn’t made the history books. Or any books.

When Brent Gardner, chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Bicentennial Celebration Planning, kicked off the group’s work, the first thing he did was outline the goals of the group. And the first goal was to be inclusive. (Insert my joyous YES! here.)

This is where you come in. Do you know someone who hasn’t made the history books? Perhaps a person of color who made history but hasn’t gotten the media or history coverage he or she deserves? Maybe a woman? We all know J.W. “Blind” Boone. Some of us know who Ann Hawkins Gentry is. But who were the people who immigrated here during the various waves of new citizens? A friend of mine lives in a house once owned by Hungarian immigrants. What is their story?

This is where you come in

I’m a member of the CoMo200 History Working Group and our charge is to develop a list of people who should be lauded.

Our group meets the third Tuesday of the month in City Hall. This month its March 19. The meeting is open to anyone who wants to help.

Can’t attend but still have ideas or names of people who have been missed in the mainstream narrative? Send them to me. Leave a comment. Send a smoke signal. We need your input because we it’s all of our history, not just those who made the first few rounds of the official narrative.

Yes, I’m obnoxious.

Some might say I’m persistent. Either way, I’m OK with that since it’s for a good cause and I’ve gotten results. What’s the cause and what has been the results?

Everywhere I go, I tell people I’m looking for those who are missing from history so they can be recognized in the upcoming 2021 Columbia bicentennial celebration.

Everywhere. Like when I attended an event for the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture founded by Adam Saunders, Dan Soetaert and Bobby Johnson. While chatting with Saunders, I mentioned my mission. The center helps people garden within the city and also donates significant amounts of produce to the local food pantry.

Then Feb. 26, 2019, an article written by Billy Polansky of Urban Ag was published in the Columbia Daily Tribune. Coincidence or results? Who cares. I now know about one more person who belongs in our history, but might have been missed.

Maybe you missed it, too.

Here’s a link to an article about Henry Kirklin. In case you don’t want to click to the article, Kirklin was born in 1858 as a Boone County slave, and freed when he was 5. He went on to found his own business selling fruits, vegetables and plant starts. He also taught at MU’s horticulture department, even though because of the laws at the time, he couldn’t go inside any of the university buildings. Instead, he taught white students about pruning and propagation outside.

Kirklin has a page at the State Historical Society of Missouri.

But how many other people have we missed? I have missed out on knowing about?

Tell me. I want to learn about the people who didn’t make the history books, the people that surprise us. That’s what I want to be the lasting mark of our city’s 2021 bicentennial.

Tell me, who’s missing from our history?





Areas, Events, Get involved

Speak up about CoMo entrepreneurs on the Business Loop

On March 12, 2019, you’ll be able to speak up and get involved in the future of the Business Loop and help entrepreneurs take root along this busy corridor.

A community town hall meeting open to the public will be held from 6 to 7 p.m., according to a website set up to support developing the area. The event will be in room 241 in the Parkade Plaza at 601 Business Loop 70.

Another session will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. for local artisans, i.e., “makers, manufacturers, and producers,” according to the website

The Loop is an organization dedicated to supporting the development of the Business Loop. It has received a “Smart Growth American grant designed to encourage local, small-scale manufacturing … to revitalize an underperforming area of the city and create new economic opportunities,” according to The Loop’s website.

The website is already up to start registering artisans and resources. Check it out here.

Read more about it at this link an article by Jennifer Truesdale published Nov. 29 , 2018 in the Columbia Business Times.