Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Remembering the slow days of life in Columbia

Before there was Columbia, this part of Upper Louisiana was ignored.

Covered wagons followed the tracks of two Boone boys - toward Franklin. Finally there were five cabin homes and Gentry’s tavern here, but there was not enough water, and people had not learned to dig cisterns for storage of rainwater from cabin roofs.

This cluster of five cabins was Smithton. It was abandoned, and a new town was planned "down the hill" where wells produced continuous water. That was called Columbia.

The War of 1812 ended, and hostile Indians went to lands south of the Missouri River. People in oxen-pulled wagons streamed to this area in 1816.

Columbia’s West Broadway began near Flat Branch. East Broadway began east of Ninth Street.

The city was preplanned by land buyers, mostly well-to-do people from Kentucky and Tennessee - relatives of the ones who had centered around the rich soil near Franklin.

A horrible flood took all of Franklin, including the Government Land Office. As historian Stephens said, "... the roar of the waters alone reminds the traveler of the historic spot resting in its bosom."

Columbia became "the place to be!" It still is!

My life has been lived east of Columbia. Born within the eastern city limits, reared on our dairy farm, which was four miles east of the intersection of Broadway and Ninth Street.

Since 1953, I’ve lived on Whip-Poor-Will Hill, 10 miles east of Columbia in Boone County.

Leaving Columbia, in my early days, there was what I now call "Hospital Hill."

Kids were in the street with toy wagons - sleds in winter - and we often stopped at the foot of the hill for Mom to buy a few groceries at Strode’s Store.

Kids who lived in Happy Hollow along Hinkson Creek sometimes threw mud balls at stopped cars and sometimes played in the creek. We stayed in our Ford touring car as directed, and Mom hurried back. She enjoyed the Strodes but not the kids from shanties along the creek.

Other memorable things in our "four miles east" included the Hinkson Creek Bridge. When the rain-swelled creek reached the heavy bridge floor boards it lifted them and washed them downstream!

The dairy truck and other vehicles had to wind their way south and west to enter town over the Ashland Gravel bridge, but we crossed on foot because men from Columbia Special Road District walked beside us, holding our hands.

It was fun, just another balance beam - except with flood waters boiling under us.

The rain was over, and new floor boards were on the bridge by the next morning.

East of the bridge there was a lovely small white church on the right side, then a road to Moon Valley Villa, which we never traveled. Headed east again was the bakery we loved.

The Campbells, who owned and operated it, gave us warm, iced sweet rolls that had had a tasty fruit mixture "injected" into the middle.

The Campbells’ huge bake oven was like a cave into the hill; the fresh bread fragrance spread far and wide.

In later years a small store was built into that same hill from a different direction. Mack Henry and his wife and son, Don, operated the store and filling station there. It was another fun place to stop.

Mrs. Henry collected jugs.

She made special little dirt shelves in the hill to support her treasures, and this stop was soon called "Jug Hill."

Those were the days when life was enjoyed at a slower pace, when people had both first and last names and kids could talk with strangers.

Sorry if you missed them!


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