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Historical Society window displays provide glances at county history

by Anakin Bush | May 19, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Anakin Bush/Fulton Sun The Kingdom of Callaway County Historical Society and Museum window displays highlight history from around the county. The current display is focused on the Spanish-American War.

The Callaway County Historical Society continues to highlight moments in the history of Callaway County with window displays, with this month's display featuring the Spanish-American War.

The display honors the 125th anniversary of the war, which was in 1898. On April 20, Congress declared war on Spain. On July 1, the Battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba took place.

The U.S. and Spain signed a cease-fire agreement on August 12, bringing the war to an end.

Part of the Historical Society's display highlights Morris Fred Bell, who was an adjutant general of Missouri.

In addition to being an adjutant general, he was a prolific architect in the local area. He is perhaps most known for designing the David R. Francis Quadrangle on the University of Missouri's campus.

He also designed and constructed Jesse Hall on Mizzou's campus, which serves as the main administration building for the college. Jesse Hall was built in 1895 as New Academic Hall. It was renamed in 1922 in honor of Richard H. Jesse, who served as the university president until 1908.

Nancy Lewis, KCHS Museum director, said Bell designed the old buildings at Fulton State Hospital and Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton.

The display features articles from the Fulton Gazette. One article, titled "Callaway Troops In Camp at St. Louis" from May 13, 1898, discusses Company M leaving for Jefferson Barracks. Company M was made up of men from Callaway County. The article on display also lists the Callaway County soldiers in Company M.

Another part of the window display highlights historical stamps that relate to Cuba.

One of the stamps on display features the Rough Riders, also known as the U.S. 1st Volunteer Cavalry. They traveled to Cuba on June 23, 1898, and fought in the Battle of Las Guasimas.

Another stamp on display features Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. He served as a colonel in the Rough Riders, and fought in the battles of Las Guasimas and San Juan Hill.

The other window display at the Historical Society highlights the history of the group. It is celebrating its 50th anniversary of the museums this year, as the group began its first museum in 1973.

The first museum was at a location called the Tuttle House, located at 7th Street and Westminster Avenue across from America's National Churchill Museum.

The Historical Society hosted the museum in the Tuttle House until 1997, when it moved to the current location at 513 Court Street in March, 1998.

The window display also highlights some of the services the Historical Society offers, including museum tours, historical photos and artifacts, and circuit court records.

Lewis said the window displays are changed about every month-and-a-half.

She said the next display will go up around June 1.

The purpose of the window displays is to provide a quick educational glance into the county's history, Lewis said.

The topic of the window displays can greatly vary.

"Last year we did an underwear window of women's underwear in the 1800's. We do wild stuff sometimes, but usually it's boring," Lewis said.

To learn more about KCHS, visit

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