CoMo200, Events, Get involved

Get a peek at a park and mark your calendar WAY ahead

Get out your 2021 calendar and mark it now. Really. The celebration of Columbia’s bicentennial is set for May 2021 and last week, the design for a park expansion set to mark the CoMo200 celebration was given the OK by The Downtown Leadership Council.

Not so fast. The plan still needs approval by the Columbia City Council. The plan will come before the city council on May 6.

Here’s a peek at the proposed park.

Already parking has surfaced as a potential problem with the park plan. According to this coverage published on April3, 2019 by ABC17News.com, a public comment on the proposed plan states the owner of the historic Columbia Ice House at the corner of Providence and Broadway wants to preserve more parking spaces along Providence Road.

The land where the disputed parking is located is owned by the city, the article notes.

Set to complain the city is wasting money on parks? Think again. The city purchased the land for $1 million, but the park development will be privately funded.

Wondering what the heck CoMo200 is?

Here’s the skinny.

  • Ongoing — The taskforce has been meeting monthly. See this city page for meeting times. All meetings of the entire taskforce are open to the public.
  • The members of the taskforce have changed.
  • A Facebook page and website have been developed. Working groups to collect content and plan publicity and events have been working.
  • November 2018 — A kickoff event was held to mark the founding of Smithton, a settlement which moved due to a lack of water and renamed itself Columbia.
  • Here’s a pdf of the speech Mayor Brian Treece gave at the event which outlines the founding of Smithton.
  • February 2018 — Members to the taskforce to plan the celebration for Columbia’s 200th anniversary were named in February 2018.
  • December 2017 –A resolution creating the taskforce approved by city council. It outlined the purpose and plans of the group.

Sparkle or sputter? It’s up to you.

Here’s the greatest danger to the celebration of Columbia’s bicentennial: You. Yup. If you don’t get involved, it won’t be the celebration we all want.

Every person on the taskforce and the working groups is a volunteer. The History Working Group, of which I’m a member, is open to ideas and volunteers.

Got something, someone, someplace that should be remembered as part of the celebration? Let me know here, go to the website and sign up or check out the Facebook page.

The History Working Group meets at 5 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month in City Hall Conference Room C. Or send me an email. A tweet. A text message. A smoke signal. (Just kidding about the smoke signal.)

Columbia’s history is all about you.

 

Apartments, Black History, Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, Events, Get involved, Historical Homes

Meeting Saturday: Saving my father’s bookcase

On Saturday, April 6, you’re invited to help write Columbia’s action plan for historic preservation at a meeting from 10 – 11:45 a.m. It will be held in the historic J.W. “Blind” Boone House at 10 N. Fourth Street. Free coffee and snacks will start the event at 9:45 a.m.

It’s a chance to be heard by the Historic Preservation Commission members and help write how we as residents of Columbia want to preserve our history.

So, what do you think should be the city’s priorities? How do you think historic preservation could benefit you? Reply here or on the city’s Historic Preservation Commission’s Facebook page.

Why this is important: My father’s bookcase

For me, historic preservation comes back to my father’s bookcase. When my brothers and I were cleaning out my mother’s house, long after my father had died, one of them held up this battered bookcase/table combination. It didn’t look like much. It was painted a generic white. Clearly, it had seen better days. But just before my brothers tossed it into the dumpster, I said, “I think Dad made that in shop in high school.” We all stopped. “Really? I didn’t know that,” one of my brothers said. “Yeah, I think so,” I said.

We kept it. That’s what historic preservation is all about to me. It wasn’t the bookcase itself. There are lots of small white bookcases in the world. But it was the fact that my father made it — and trust me he wasn’t a master craftsman when he made that bookcase. It gave us a chance to remember and talk about a man who loved and cared for his family the best way he knew how, working long hours, two jobs and repairing everything himself.

Columbia’s bookcases

    • If you were around in 2000/2001, you may remember we almost lost Stephens Park to development. Instead, a city government-citizen partnership provided the push and funding to allow the purchase of this land for one of our city’s most beautiful parks.
    • Or maybe you recall the near loss in 2013 of the Neidermeyer Apartments
    • We’ll be holding the meeting one of the city’s most important historic preservation wins, a journey that took 16 years, the J.W. “Blind” Boone House.

If we’d lost the Boone house, we would have lost the reminder of a man who was born in 1864, the child of a contraband former slave and a Union army bugler. Boone went on to tour the country as a classical and ragtime composer and musician becoming one of the richest men in Boone County before his 1927 death. 

What “bookcases” in Columbia do you want to save? How can the HPC better serve you? What partners should the Commission be seeking?

Let’s have coffee on Saturday and talk about it. I’ll be there to tell you more about my Dad.

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 Ancestry.com.

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

CoMo200, Events, Get involved, Uncategorized

Six ways to get involved in Missouri’s bicentennial

This article published Feb. 13 in the California Democrat outlines six ways to get involved in helping Missouri mark its 200th anniversary in 2021.

Get quilting! — One quilt block per county will be put together to create a Missouri Bicentennial Quilt. Learn more here. The deadline is Sept. 2.

Got pictures? — I know you have a shoebox full of great photos of Missouri. Time to sort them out. The Missouri State Historical Society is looking for 200 good photos. Learn more here.

A penny for history — School kids are being asked to collect pennies to help fund conservation efforts to of founding documents. This is a project of the Missouri Humanities Council. Learn more here. So far, there are only schools in Cape Girardeau and Kansas City list.

What makes a community a community? — If you’ve got ideas about what makes your Missouri community unique, this is the project for you. Groups and individuals are being asked to “document local traditions, creative expressions, meaningful place and organizations and institutions of significance, the article explains. Learn more here.

Missouri Encyclopedia — What bothers me the most about living in Missouri is how cool our state is and how few people seem to know that. This project is a step in the right direction. This is a project to create a Missouri encyclopedia. There are guidelines for writers and here’s an example of an article. This project really needs our local historians. For gosh sakes, Annie Fisher isn’t even listed … yet. Here’s your chance to touch the future and show people the Show-Me State.

 

 

Boone County Bicentennial, Events, Get involved, Uncategorized

Help Boone County celebrate 200 years

Here’s an easy way to get involved in the celebration of Boone County’s 200th anniversary. On Saturday, Feb. 16,  local artist Stacy Self will be visiting Ashland to gather information for a mural to highlight the communities in the county.

Several sessions throughout Boone County will be held in the next six months, starting with this one at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Southern Boone County Public Library, according to this Boone County news release  and this Feb. 12, 2019, Columbia Missourian article.

Once completed, the mural will be displayed in the Boone County History and Culture Center.

For more information about the mural or other Boone County bicentennial plans, contact: Janet Thompson at jthompson@boonecountymo.org or 573-886-4309.