Resources and tips for historical research. This information is accurate as of June 26, 2018.
- Columbia Missouri Herald, 25th Anniversary, 1870-1895.E.W. Stephens, proprietor; Walter Williams, editor. Press of E.W. Stephens, Columbia, Mo.
- National Register of Historic Places, Multiple Property Document Form, Jan. 21, 2004.Look here for a detailed, but brief history of Columbia from its founding to 2003. It includes everything from when automobiles hit downtown to when many landmark buildings were built including the Hall Theatre, the Tiger Hotel and the Missouri Theatre.
- American Civil War in Missouri: This page on the State Historical Society of Missouri offers links and a search engine to resources about Missouri during the Civil War. For example, here is a link to Regions in Missouri, then the Central counties, including Boone County. Under Boone County, there is a list of manuscript collections, including those of Odon Guitar of Columbia. Another document listed is General Order 1 signed by Brig. Gen. E.M. Com’dg. O. Guitar. The document declares:: All persons subject to military duty residing within the county of Boone, are hereby required to report themselves at this Post for enrollment as provided in General Orders, Nos. 19 and 24, “Headquarters Missouri State Militia,” on or before the 25th inst. All persons failing or refusing to comply with the above order, will be regarded and treated as in active rebellion against the Government and in sympathy with the marauders and robbers who now infest the country.”
- Boone County Assessor’s Office
Then do a search under Real Property.
You will need to have a username and password, but it is free.
This will provide you with the legal description of a property.
- Boone County Recorder of Deed’s website and find the previous owners. This usually only goes back two or three owners, so if you are doing historical research, you’ll need to go to the actually Recorder of Deed’s office and trace the property back through time using the legal description of the parcel of land.
- “The History of Boone County,” a book by William Switzler published 1882. This is available for check out from the Columbia Library and you can buy your own copy of a reprint at the Boone County History and Culture Center.
- Boone County Historical Society. BCHS has resources such as hundreds of “Whatever happened to …” columns by the late Midge Pike and the late Francis Pike published in the Columbia Daily Tribune from 1986-1992.
- The Genealogical Society of Boone County and Central Missouri. The society is housed at the Boone County History and Culture Center. The Genealogical Society has research materials, including this online list of resources. The Center is open 11 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. Wednesday thru Saturday.
- City of Columbia directory of maps.
- ColumbiaHistoricHomes.com. You’re already here. This site is organized by category and includes a page with links to a lot of recent newspaper coverage of historic buildings and properties.
- Columbia Historic Preservation page with information on the Notable Properties. Here’s a good place to start. It has the majority of the Columbia Historic Preservation documents:
- Like maps? This link will take you to an interactive map so you can SEE where the properties are. Click on the bullets on the upper left and you’ll see the map legend. Yes, we even have properties on the list that predate the city’s founding in 1820.
- Google searches
Don’t minimize the usefulness of simple Google search for historic information. You can confine your search to a time period and to reliable government or education sources by using this method:
site:gov then your search term. Here’s an example:
“Laura Matthews” Columbia Missouri or
site:edu “Laura Matthews” Columbia Missouri.
NOTE: The Columbia Library offers classes on how to better use Goggle.
- Missouri State Historical Society. Its real name is the State Historical Society of Missouri. In addition to a vast collection of historical information from photographs to art, it has research guides and helpful librarians. The Society is on MU’s campus in the lower level of Ellis Library for now and it will soon be moving to its own building. You can ask the librarians there anything and they will also show you how to use their online resources so you can learn how to use them yourself from home.
- Missouri Digital Heritage
This online resource offers a wide range of online primary documents including military records. Military records for every war from the War of 1812 through World War I.
You can search all war records and see a digitized original military record.
Then search for Soldiers’ Records
- National Register of Historic Places
Here’s a list of Boone County’s NRHPs
To learn more about the NRHP, see the National Park Service’s FAQs on National Register of Historic Places. https://www.nps.gov/nr/faq.htm#restrictions
Here’s an expert’s list of myths about National Register of Historic Places:
PDF – The Top Ten Myths About Historic Preservation
- Newspaper searches — Chronicling America
Historic American newspapers
You can confine it a single state and a time period. Don’t forget to use quotation marks around a name so you get only that person such as “Laura Matthews.” Otherwise, the search will return every Laura mentioned in the newspaper.
You can also download a pdf of the page you’re interested in.
- University of Missouri Archives
What you’ll find there: Anything to do with campus or anyone associated with MU
- MU Brick and Mortar
Here’s information just on the buildings at MU
Local resources in Columbia, Missouri
- Most Notable Properties, Columbia, Missouri.
- Boone’s Lick Road Association — This is a nonprofit dedicated to preserving a road, the former Boone’s Lick Trail, that once stretched from St. Charles to Franklin, Missouri. The group’s goals are to preserve the road, its stories and to gain federal recognition for the trail as a National Historic Trail.
Boone County Historical Society — Founded in 1963, the BCHS is a non-profit dedicated to preserving and interpreting local and regional history. The BCHS is located at 3801 Ponderosa Street, Columbia, Missouri. The organization restored the Maplewood mansion and built the Walters-Boone County Museum using private contributions and volunteer labor and materials. The complex includes the Village at Boone Junction, a collection of restored buildings.
Historic Preservation Commission of Columbia (Missouri) City Council — Founded in July 1998, this seven-member board meets the first Tuesday of every month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Daniel Boone Building at 701 East Broadway, in the 2nd Floor Planning Conference Room. The HPC is is charged with the following tasks:
- Encouraging redevelopment of historically significant structures;
- Supervising surveys to identify significant properties
- Reviewing applications for landmark and historic designations
- Advising and assisting residents and owners on the preservation, renovation, rehabilitation and reuse of property;
- Encouraging the nomination of landmarks and districts to the National Register of Historic Places;
- Establishing an ongoing survey and inventory of historic properties.
Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation — This nine-member board provides a citizens review of nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, as required by Missouri law. The Council meets four times per year to review nominations for the National Register to be submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office. Click here to see when the Council meets next and review its agenda.
Missouri Preservation/Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation — Founded in 1976 as the Missouri Heritage Trust, Missouri Preservation is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting, supporting and coordinating historic preservation activities in Missouri. The website includes information, a list of most endangered historic places and case studies.
Missouri State Historic Preservation Office — Founded in 1968, this office of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is in charge, among other things, the following tasks:
- Administering the National Register of Historic Places in Missouri;
- Funding and coordinating surveys to identify state historic, architectural and archaeological resources;
- Helping owners, developers and architects ensure rehabilitation projects qualify for rehabilitation tax credits;
- Administering Missouri’s Historic Preservation Revolving Fund, through which the DNR can assist in the preservation of endangered historic buildings;
- Providing education and technical services to the general public.
Missouri State Historical Society — Founded in 1898, this state organization is the historical repository for Missouri. Located in Ellis Library at the University of Missouri-Columbia, it offers a myriad of historical and research materials at its location and online in addition to providing a Speakers’ Bureau, workshops and sponsoring Missouri History in Performance Theatre (MoHiP) and publishing the Missouri Historic Review. Yearly membership is $20 for individuals. The State Historical Society has been a trustee of the state since 1899 and is funded by state allocations, grants and membership fees.
Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia — Founded in 1943, this organization is a joint collection of the University of Missouri and the State Historical Society of Missouri. It is located in Ellis Library at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Initially the repository of the Work Projects Administration of Historic Records Survey files, today, it now includes paper records, microfilm, photographs, images and audio and video materials.
The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 declared “the spirit and direction of the Nation are founded upon and reflected in its historic heritage;” and went on to create the National Register of Historic Places.
In Missouri, the National Register of Historic Places program is administered by the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). A page on the SHPO website lists all of the sites in Boone County listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
National Trust for Historic Preservation — Founded in 1949, the National Trust “is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing America’s communities,” notes its website, which provides leadership, education, education, advocacy, and resources.
Architecture.about.com — Need information on housing styles? Can’t tell a Georgian home from a Federal style home? This site provides information, a list of the major features for various housing styles and photos.
Columbia Historic Preservation Commission online information:
2009 – PowerPoint, http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Planning/Commissions/HPC/documents/2009MostNotables.pdf
2009 — Map, http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Planning/Commissions/HPC/documents/2009mostnotablesmap.pdf
2008 — Video, http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/TCC/Video/Archive/video.php?video=145
2007 – Video, http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/TCC/Video/Archive/video.php?video=87
Window Replacement Guide: http://www.geneva.il.us/CommunityDevelopment/HistoricPreservation/hpcguidetowindows.htm