Area settlers followed the Boone’s Lick Road into the rich lands of Missouri Territory in the early 1800s. Largely from Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee, they brought their slave culture with them. The county of Boone was organized soon after Daniel Boone died in eastern Missouri in 1820. Education was prized even before the county was awarded the state university in 1839. By the early 1900s, medicine took on growing importance in the county. Today Boone County is a unique blend of rural and urban, is the largest county by population in central Missouri, and enjoys a strong economy. While travelers now follow Interstate 70, the values that the area settlers brought originally are still here today. The county boasts one of the finest medical centers in the nation and a physician population three times the national average. And education remains central to today’s culture.

Written By: David Sapp


 The area that is now Callaway County was first inhabited by Sauk, Fox and Osage Indians. The first settlement was at Cote sans Dessein (Hill without Design) along the Missouri River in the very early 1800s. French Canadian settlers were followed by Southerners from Virginia and Kentucky. The County was organized in 1820 as Missouri prepared to become a state after which a second wave of settlers arrived from Germany in the second half of the 18th century.  Agriculture has long been a strong industry in Callaway County. The rich soil in the Missouri River bottoms along the southern border is some of the richest soil to be found in the state. Coal was also produced early in the history of the county, but production was discontinued as demand decreased. The Chicago and Alton Railroad ran north and south through the center of Callaway contributing to the growth and prosperity of the county. A third railroad line, the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (MKT) which ran along the Missouri River is now known as the Katy Trail; currently the longest walking and cycling trail in the U.S.A. Schools came early to Callaway County, and although a few institutions of higher education didn’t survive, Westminster University in Fulton (1851) and William Woods University (1890) thrive today.

Written By: Delores M. Beck, Ph.D.


Cole County is home to Missouri’s historic state capital, Jefferson City. The selection of Jefferson City as the capital was controversial in 1822. A tour of the interior of the Capitol, built in 1917, reveals incredible art, including the Thomas Hart Benton mural. A pedestrian/bicycle bridge connects the city to the Katy Trail. The Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP), founded in 1833 and decommissioned in 2004, draws thousands of tourists yearly. Other small communities in Cole County are unique and inviting. Visitors can experience a Frog Legs Festival in Russellville, beautiful churches in all the surrounding towns, as well as German heritage visible in the architecture. There are a variety of activities available including driving down scenic country roads, walking or biking on the greenway, walking historic neighborhoods and visiting historic government sites. Cole County is also home to Lincoln University, a historically black college founded in 1865 by African American soldiers who had fought in the Civil War. The Soldiers Memorial Plaza is a moving monument to their vision, located at the center of the Lincoln University hilltop campus.

Written By: Cathy Bordner


Taken from Cole and Morgan Counties, Moniteau County was formed in 1845.  Its name was derived from an Indian drawing, known as the Manito, depicted on the bluff along the Missouri River near where the Moniteau Creek flows into it.  Initially, German, Swiss and Irish immigrants settled here, and more recently, Mexican immigrants. Farming and other agricultural business is the primary economic industry in this county. The Cargill turkey processing plant, Arkansas Feather Company, and Burgers’ Smokehouse, a nationally know processor of cured and smoked meats, are the primary employers in Moniteau County. There is also a prison in Tipton that employs a number of people.  The Moniteau County Historical Society has restored many of the historic buildings in downtown California, Missouri, and has its own building which includes an expanding research library.  Recent improvements to Highway 50 have improved access to the county especially to Jefferson City allowing Moniteau County people to participate in business and state government in Missouri’s capital.

Written By: Dolores Burger


Osage County has long been recognized as a great place to live. Rolling hills, fertile farmlands, five rivers, and countless springs are abundant in this county.  These factors drew settlers during the formative years of the county which was organized in 1841.   Following the Indian tribe which gave the river and county their names, immigrants from the southern United States, France, England, Germany, Ireland and many other European countries came to fulfill their hopes for a better life.  This divergent population built little villages each of which illustrates the way of life favored by the founders.  The history of Osage county is written alongside its scenic highways and byways, railroads and rivers which are dotted with magnificent Catholic churches, roadside “filling stations” falling to ruin, and beautiful landscapes. The dreams settlers brought with them to Osage County are written in place names like Hope and Freedom and are apparent in the country schools and in the modern beauty of the Linn State Technical College campus. Visit our website.

Written By: Roberta Schwinke

Community Organizations

MRBA members:

California Chamber of Commerce
Old Munichburg Association
Hallsville Historical Society