Events, General, Get involved

Research resources

Researching history can be fun and here is a resource list to help you get started, as I promised everyone who turned out for the Columbia’s Hidden History talk at the Columbia Public Library at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19.

Don’t forget you can send me your suggestions for research and myth busting at

Some important things about research:

  • This is not a definitive list. You’re never done learning and I’m not either. If you have a source or resource you’d like added to the list, just email me at
  • If you want to access the resources at the Boone County Historical Society, The Genealogical Society of Boone County, the MU Archives, the Missouri State Historical Society, call ahead to make sure the archivist or librarians there will have time to help you and/or the organization is open.
  • Remember, it’s OK to ask for help and people at these organizations want to help people do research whether you’re an average Jane or Joe or a journalist like me.
  • Most important — just do it. The worst thing that could happen to you is you’ll become addicted to historical research and what’s so bad about that?


Books, General

Missouri-Beverly Hillbillies connection

I love surprises and I love learning things about my adopted state Missouri. So imagine my delight when I learned about Missouri’s connection to “The Beverly Hillbillies,” the 1960s hit national television show.

The surprise comes from the publication of a new book about the writer of the television series. The book is “The First Beverly Hillbilly: The Untold Story of the Creator of Rural TV Comedy.” 

If you’re too young to remember, “The Beverly Hillbillies,” was a rural comedy that ran for eight seasons until 1971 and was the No. 1 television show in its first two seasons, according to this Dec. 4, 2010, article on the website.

The Missouri Connection

The writer of the show Paul Henning was an Independence, Missouri native and his wife Ruth Henning wrote a book about their life in Hollywood. The manuscript was completed in the 1990s, but went unpublished until 2017. A book launch was held in September 2017 in Independence to mark the book’s publication.

A review in the January 2018 issue of the Missouri Historical Review calls the biography a lighthearted chronical of Paul Henning’s career path from “midwestern radio programs to Hollywood television producer and screenwriter.”

The book, “The First Beverly Hillbilly: The Untold Story of the Creator of Rural TV Comedy,” is available at the Columbia Public Library. It is, of course, also available electronically at, where it has gotten 4 1/2 stars.

In the television comedy, the main characters, the Clampetts, hailed from the Missouri Ozarks, near Silver Dollar City. Some of the shows were filmed at Silver Dollar City and the shows often featured references to Branson and the area.

The Hennings were smitten with the Ozarks area and bought and donated 1,534 acres to the state of Missouri and it is now the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area west of Branson.

Missouri never fails to surprise me and I hope you like this kind of surprise as much as I do.

General, Public properties

Easy come, easy go?

It’s hard for me to imagine building a lake, but apparently it wasn’t for E.C. More.

This newspaper article outlines how E.C. (Elawson Carry) More built a lake in the late 1800s that today has been drained so the coal ash dumped in it can be removed and taken to the landfill. The lake is near Business Loop 70 East, Ashley and Bowling streets, and Lake Avenue.

The article includes a historic document outlining Columbia’s up and down efforts to create its own Municipal Power Plant and provide water and electricity to the city.

It will take about 13,000 dump truck loads to remove the ash, according to calculations made by Columbia Mayor Brian Treece, the article notes. This makes me wonder how More built the lake back when there were no dump trucks.

For now, here’s an article that provides history and context about a lake that once was and perhaps might be again.

April 25, 2017 —More’s Lake might return to its former glory after years of sitting filled with ash, Columbia Missourian. Summary: A lake once used for water to cool the power plant and then used as a place to dump ash from when the Columbia Municipal Power Plant burned coal has been drained. Due to environmental concerns and regulations, the ash will be removed and taken to the land fill. The lake was created in the late 1800s by Elawson Carry More. It was once used as community fishing and recreation area. Hopes were expressed that might be again. The piece includes this link to a historical document about Columbia’s power and water developments.


Fish, Eugene Field and a spring named Rollins

Got a damp spot in your yard? I do and I often wonder if it is a spring.

Perhaps it’s a historic site. There’s a spring now marked in an fairly obscure spot at Providence Road and Mick Deaver Drive and it’s mentioned in a 1991 article by Frances Pike of the Columbia Daily Tribune. He wrote a series titled, “Whatever happened to …” and on July 28, 1991, the topic was Rollins Spring.

Pike outlined the history of the spring which was on land owned by James Rollins who sold to the University of Missouri in 1870 for the agriculture farm. What? Never heard of the agriculture farm or the spring? That’s because the spring is no longer a popular spot for college students to hang out and today is little spot off a trail on the other side of the road from Research Park.  To save it from obscurity, in 2011, it was cleaned up and planted with native Missouri plans and dedicated to Missouri athletes. Take a peek at an outline of its history here.

The information from the site of the Mizzou Botanic Garden notes that at one time area was fenced off for an experiment in pasturing cows, but the students who loved to gather there for a picnic beat down the fence and let those cows escape, ruining the experiment.

In frustration, the agriculture dean tried to fill in the spring. Twice. He gave up.

But the history of that spring’s treachery involves more than that. In 1879, there were plans to turn it into a fish hatchery. Except when officials came to inspect the area, the spring ran dry. The plans were scuttled and in a few days the spring was running again.

The spring has another claim to fame as well. The 1991 Pike article quotes a poem by Eugene Field, of Little Boy Blue and Wynken, Blynken and Nod fame. Field attended the University of Missouri in 1869, and like Brad Pitt, he did not graduate from the university. Instead, he went on to fame as a poet and a journalist. The poem he wrote about Rollins Spring refers to the flow there as “Adam’s ale … From the spring they say will never fail.”

So we’re lucky the dean was unsuccessful in filling in the spring, because that probably saved this history from getting lost, but sometimes I wonder if that place that wet spot in yard is a spring … or a historic site.

Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, General

Previous Annual Most Notable Properties

Here’s a review of past years’ Most Notable Properties named by Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission.

An event presenting this year’s properties was postponed from Feb. 1 until Feb. 16, due to the blizzard, but you can review past lists via these links.


Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, General

Historic Gala Postponed to Feb. 16, 2011

A new date, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011 has been set for the Most Notable Properties gala, an annual event by the City of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission.

The gala will be held the Daniel Boone Regional Library Friends Room.

This Columbia, Missouri, event is when the Historic Preservation Commission announces and gives a presentation on this year’s Most Notable Properties. In the past, notable properties have included commercial buildings, churches, cemeteries and homes in Columbia.

The event had been planned for tonight, Feb. 1, but a blizzard has led to it being postponed.

You can review previous years’ events via these links.



Preservation, housing linked

Historic preservation is about economics and development, not just the aesthetics or history.

The White House on its Remake America Now website, announced three appointments to the Advisory Council of Historic Preservation. Two of the three people added to this Council have experience with providing affordable housing.

Clearly the Administration recognizes the economic importance of historic preservation.

Read more about the appointees and their past efforts to provide housing while preserving historic buildings.

Here’s the link: