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In January 1853, Peter Nichols built the first home in what is known today as the town of Ashland in Boone County, Missouri. In celebration of the town’s 160th birthday, Marjory Johnson, Pat Nichols, Larry Rice and myself, all of the Southern Boone County Historical Society, presented images and stories of the town’s early years. Much of the information presented came from W.F. Switzler’s “History of Boone County, Missouri” (originally published in 1882). You can visit the Columbia Public Library’s reference collection on the second floor to browse this book and other county histories.
Here are a few fun facts about Ashland’s history.
Farmer’s Corner was the first business established in Ashland. Owned by D.M. and A.M. Burnam, this general mercantile was located on the southeast corner of Broadway and Main. The most well known store on the north side of Main was called The Trade Center, started by Lawrence Bass, Joseph Waters Johnston, a Mr. Brooks and a Mr. Harris in 1881. The Trade Center sold everything a rural family would need to take care of farm and home, and its great success was due in part to its location–less than one block south of the stockyards where farmers brought their livestock for sale.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was Ashland’s first established church and was built in 1854 on the south side of Broadway. The Ashland Baptist Church was established in 1879 with its house of worship being constructed in 1880. The Christian Church was started in 1881 and built its first building in 1882, just west of the Ashland Mill Company. The mill pond was used for baptisms in the early days of the church. Ashland’s first black church appears on a 1922 Sanborn Insurance Map, but the exact year of its establishment is unknown.
Churches and service clubs, along with their auxiliaries, provided this rural community’s social opportunities. Service clubs included the Masons who formed in 1858 and built the Ashland Lodge No. 156, Patrons of Husbandry (formed in 1873) and the Ashland Order United Workmen (1880). The Ashland Debating Society formed in 1875 and would orate on the streets of town. Hot topics included the US Centennial Celebration, politics and the importance of church. July fourth was a very big day in Ashland when political candidates did their stumping. This continued well into the 1950s.
For more Boone County history, see the list in our online catalog of resources for historians and genealogists.
Images courtesy of Larry Rice and the Southern Boone County Historical Society.
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We recently added “Detropia” to the DBRL collection. The film played at the True/False Film Festival in 2012, and currently has a rating of 84% from critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s a synopsis from our catalog:
Detroit’s story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century: the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now, the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos. With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution.