Get involved, University of Missouri

1949 and 1959: Photos of Columbia

Want to see what Columbia looked like to photographers of the Missouri Photo Workshop in 1949 and 1959? I found the images stunning.

Photographers come from across the U.S. and around the world to participate in this Workshop at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. Since 1949, Workshop participants have gone to a small town in Missouri each year to documenting lives there, according to an announcement on the Missouri School of Journalism Facebook page posted today.

Twice, Columbia was the town documented. These links to 1949 and 1959 will take you to a slideshow of haunting views of Columbia.

If you’re not from Columbia, here’s a link to find other towns which were featured.

There are no captions, only images. But I find myself wondering who are these people. Where are they today? Do they see themselves? Do they see our lives in 1949 or 1959?

Do you know them? Can you identify them?

 

 

Black History, Schools, University of Missouri

Two surprise news items: Legion of Black Collegians history and Sanborn Field

At MU, in 1950, the first black student was enrolled at the University of Missouri.  In 1968, there were fewer than 500 black students there and no black professors at all. That year, the Legion of Black Collegians was launched to support black students

Two years prior, in 1948, a fungus was discovered that lead to the development of an antibiotic. It was found in the soil at Sanborn Field, one of only about 2,500 National Historic Landmarks in the U.S.

The permission to republish these two articles from MIZZOU magazine’s Winter 2019 issue provides information on the racial struggles at the MU and the importance of Sanborn field. This magazine is typically only available to those who receive this MU alumni magazine, so this is a special opportunity to learn about MU’s history.

  • Winter 2019 — Marking 50 Years. PDF copy. Source: MIZZOU magazine. Summary: The Legion of Black Collegians is celebrating 50 years. The article notes mile markers such as the launch of the LBC, the first formal student organization focused on the black student population, 1969 the creation of the Black Studies Program, the 1974 successful advocation for the removal of Confederate Rock from campus, the 1990 sit-in to get Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday recognized as a holiday, 2013 change of the Black Studies Program into the Black Studies Department, LBC students and others form Concerned Student 1950 to demand policy changes to shift the culture at MU, 2018 the UM System pledges $8.5 million for the Missouri Compact for Inclusive Excellence, and in 2018, MU dedicates building or spaces to Lucile Bluford, George C. Brooks and Gus T. Ridgel. Note: The copy of this article is republished here with permission from MIZZOU magazine.
  • Winter 2019 — Old Field, New Ideas. Source: MIZZOU Magazine. Summary: Sanborn Field, established in 1888, was named a National Historic Landmark in 1964. It was named after J.W. Sanborn, director of the Missouri Agricultural Experimental Station. In 1948, William A. Albrecht found streptomyces aureofaciens there which became the basis for Aureomycin, an antibiotic widely prescribed from the 1940s to the 1980s. The Smithsonian Institute has a sample of the Sanborn soil. The copy of this article is republished here with permission from MIZZOU magazine.
Black History, Boone County Bicentennial, CoMo200, Events, General, Get involved, National Register of Historic Places, Notable Properties List, University of Missouri

Seven ways to use this website

If you’re a regular reader, thanks! If you’re not, here are seven ways this website can help you and will convince you to follow this website.

  1. First, I keep up with and post any news and events related to history on the page “All Media Coverage.” That’s why this week’s list includes information on upcoming meetings to mark the Boone County bicentennial. All the news comes from reliable news outlets such as KOMU.com, the Columbia Daily Tribune or the Columbia Missourian.  Note, I’m a one-person show, so I’m not perfect. If you see something missing, send me a note or comment below. I’m a keen fan of crowd-sourced knowledge!
  2. Forgot that important happening or upcoming event? Use the All Media Coverage page to refresh your memory.
  3. Only interested in Black history? I got a page for you that I keep updated. There’s an update today! Really want to follow BoCo200 or CoMo200 information? I’ve got a page about that, too. In today’s update, there’s a link to one of the most moving articles I’ve read about the links to slavery common icons have. Those columns at MU? Not such a beautiful site since I now know they were likely built with slave labor.
  4. Not keen on the news? Only want to find out what buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places or the city’s Notable Properties List? No problem. Houses, Apartments, Areas, Buildings, Schools including the University of Missouri, Stephens College and Columbia College all have their own pages. Each page is organized by address so you can find out if that cute house that looks fresh out of a fairy tale at 121 N. West Boulevard is on the National Register.  Spoiler: It’s not.
  5. Can’t be bothered with looking at this website? I understand. We’re all busy. You can sign up for emails whenever I post something.
  6. In love with Facebook like I am? You can find my posts there along with other information as I catch it.
  7. You can send me questions or comments and I’ll try to find answers for you. I have uncovered primary documents proving that David Guitar of 2815 Oakland Gravel Road never served in the Confederacy. An owner of the house during the 1940s renamed the house Confederate Hill, but the original owner of the house never fought against the Union forces. I’ve found a downtown building built by the first Korean student at the University of Missouri. Do you have a question you’d like answered? Let me know and I’ll try to find the answer.

Here’s this week’s news roundup. Enjoy!

  • April 20, 2019 — Center unveils historic photo collection. Source: Columbia Daily Tribune. Summary: Immigrants. A mother. A Reconstruction-period soldier. These images are among the historic photographs on display in the exhibit “Faces Found: Boone County Portraits 1886-1940,” at the Boone County History and Culture Center.
  • April 18, 2019 — Bicentennial mural project meeting in Sturgeon. Source: Columbia Daily Tribune. A meeting is set for April 27, 2019 in the Sturgeon Christian Church Fellowship Hall to seek input about what should be in the mural artist Stacy Self will create for the 200th anniversary of the founding of Boone County.
  • April 14, 2019 — Rude Awakenings: Invisible chains hang on our iconic columns. Source: Columbia Daily Tribune. Summary: An article noting the African-American history that goes unnoticed. For example, the columns left standing in the Quadrangle of the University of Missouri are from a building built in 1839, most likely using enslaved labor. The article notes that in 1830 nearly a quarter of the Boone County population were slaves. The article calls for making sure the history of blacks are not ignored during the bicentennial celebrations.
  • April 12, 2019 — Boone bicentennial plans moving ahead. Source: Columbia Daily Tribune. Summary: Reporting on plans developed for celebrating Boone County’s 200th anniversary. Those plans include having a mural created with input from various Boone County towns. For example, Hallsville residents want representations of Native Americans from the Osage Tribe and a 1963 explosion included. Boone County was created in 1820. The mural will hang in the Boone County History and Culture Center.
  • April 12, 2019 — Letter to the Editor: Looking for new Good Old Boys. Source: Columbia Daily Tribune. Summary: Men who meet at Midway Truck Stop are looking for men to join them for dinner, as many members have left. The meal is at 5:30 p.m. in the cafe. The next meeting will be Monday, May 6.
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.