Have you noticed? There’s no one place you can look for information on Columbia’s history.

For example, what if you want to know when Columbia was founded? Or when the historic Hall Theatre was built or who built it? Yep, no one place to find that out.

My goal is to make this website a portal to Columbia’s history.

I know, I know. That’s mission impossible. And frankly I could use some help, so if you want to pitch in, send me a note either via email at dobrien387 at gmail.com or via my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CoMoHistoricPlaces

Spoiler alert: Columbia was founded in 1821 and the Hall Theatre was built in 1916 by Tom C. Hall, who was not from Columbia. I know! Who knew? Well, a lot of people but now you do, too.

This site offers information from news reports, government sources such as those of the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission and the National Register of Historic Places and other valid, verifiable sources.

Who’s behind this site? I’m Dianna Borsi O’Brien, the person responsible for this site. You can reach me at dobrien387 at gmail.com or via my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CoMoHistoricPlaces. (If you are just dying to learn more about who I am, feel free to take a peek at my professional website.)

And truthfully, I could some help. Contact me if you want to get involved.

Origins: I started this site in 2010 when I was working as a freelance journalist and got a quirky assignment to look into the city’s Notable Properties list. 

I created this site to make sense of the bits and pieces of Columbia’s history I collected. Because that’s who I am. I’m a journalist. Through that first writing assignment, I became obsessed with Columbia’s history — and the economics of historic preservation.

So who am I to take on this task? I fell in love with this town when I came here in 1990 to attend the School of Journalism. After moving away for various newspaper jobs, I returned in 1998 and took up a freelance writing career.  

Remember, I’m a real person so if you make a comment or want to let me know there’s an error on this site, please be nice.


  • Blog posts about events, people, places, things I think will be interesting or important to my readers.
  • Links to published articles.
  • Links to reports and documents such as information from the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission and the National Register of Historic Places documents.
  • It covers buildings, organizations and special history such as Black History, with a link to all the information about the 1923 James Scott public lynching. For example, you’ll find a page for Houses, Schools (including MU), Resources (so you can do your own research) and a page of links to media coverage going back to 2009.

WHY SHOULD I TRUST THIS SITE? I’m a journalist so the information here is attributed to its original source. If you spot a mistake, let me know. I will correct it.

WHERE DOES THE INFORMATION ON HERE COME FROM? The information on this website has been drawn from a variety of sources, including the city of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission. Note: This website is not affiliated, associated or endorsed by the Historic Preservation Commission. For more information the Columbia’s HPC, go to the HPC’s official site here.

Notable Properties: This website began with a list highlighting the sites on Columbia’s Notable Properties a list developed by Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission.

The list of Notable Properties began in 1998 when the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) began naming five to 10 properties to the list each year except for 1999. Properties named to the list must meet three criteria:

  • Within the city limits;
  • 50 years old or older;
  • Feature architectural or historical importance either through historic features, who lived there or how it was used.

National Register of Historic Places: The website includes places in Boone County on the federal National Register of Historic Places. To learn more about the properties on the National Register of Historic Places, go to this website.

I’m glad you’re here and I’d love to hear from you about Columbia’s history!


  1. I did research on a house in downtown Columbia that has since been demolished. I did this paper for Ozzie Overby in an historic architecture class…mid-1980s. Let me know if you’re interested.

  2. hi deanna, i was one of the lucky children who went to this school in 1940’s and 50’s. we had a pump that we used to get our drinking water from. we had a lady cooking our lunch and i can still remember how good it smelled. we played many a ball game in the back.my pecan pie bought the most money for the school and i was so shy i wouldn’t eat with the boy who bought my shoe box supper. i am now 75 years old.

    1. Lucy, thanks for your comment. Can you tell me what school you are referring to so I can post your comment? Sorry for not replying earlier! Dianna O’Brien

      1. yes. it was keene school on brown station rd. in columbia. it was in the late 40’s and early 50’s.they didn’t have school buses then and we had to cut across neighbors fields or walk the road which was a really long walk.

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