Locals will get a first look at a monument celebrating 200 years of Callaway County next week.
The Callaway County Commission and members of the Callaway 200 committee will reveal a new granite monument in front of the Callaway County Courthouse in a ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The county was officially founded Nov. 25, 1820 — exactly 200 years before the planned ceremony.
This monument is a counterpart to a tri-county monument unveiled Monday in the south part of the county. Two neighboring counties — Cole and Boone — are also celebrating a bicentennial in 2020, and both are planning their own individual monuments.
"It was a wonderful event," John Bell, co-chair of the Callaway 200 committee, said of Monday's ceremony. "I hope we can surpass them."
Standing at about 6.5 feet tall, including a 24-inch tall base with an obelisk on top, Callaway County's monument will feature a brief timeline and summary of the county's history, the date of the monument's installation and an engraved outline of the county. Callaway County is paying for the monument, at a cost of about $11,000.
"This is for the whole county, this is for our heritage, and this is something that'll hopefully be with us for many generations to come," Eastern District Commissioner Randy Kleindienst said in August. "And it won't break the bank."
Featured events listed in a draft document earlier this year included the county's founding; the establishment of Westminster College, Fulton State Hospital, the Missouri School for the Deaf and William Woods University; the construction of the Callaway Energy Center and the National Churchill Museum; and Sir Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech.
It will join several other monuments in a flower bed outside the courthouse's main entrance at 10 E. 5th St. in Fulton.
During Wednesday's ceremony, Callaway 200 committee member Joe Holt will give a history of Callaway County, while Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann will read a special proclamation. Callaway 200 co-chair Susan Krumm said they're also hoping for a color guard and other special guests. Tentative plans to invite high school bands fell through: "COVID strikes again," Bell said.
There's also a treat for local philatelists — that is, those who study and collect stamps. As a souvenir of the day, the Kingdom Philatelic Association has worked with the local post office to develop a special "cancel," the date-bearing ink stamp that cancels the postage stamp.
"We do these commemorative cancels — over the years we've done a number of them to commemorate historic events in Callaway County," explained Bruce Hackmann, KPA and Callaway 200 committee member.
The U.S. Postal Service will set up a booth at the courthouse Wednesday where people can acquire the commemorative cancels. Postal enthusiasts may bring their own envelopes or, for $3, purchase a special one designed by the KPA bearing a thematic stamp.
"It has an artist's rendering, done by (Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society member) Nancy Lewis, of Callaway County's first courthouse, Brite's Tavern in Elizabeth," Hackmann said.
Hackmann said he's chosen stamps related to Callaway County's history, including some themed around Sir Winston Churchill, the Louisiana Purchase and famed frontiersman Daniel Boone, grandfather of county namesake James Callaway. Leftover envelopes (called "covers" in philatelic parlance) will be available for purchase at the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society.
Following the ceremony, the Callaway 200 committee will draw the winners of the Callaway County-themed customized .30-30 Henry Rifle raffle and the scavenger hunt prize drawing.
"We'll also be selling Callaway 200 merchandise at close-out pricing," Bell added.
Attendees are asked to wear masks and respect physical distancing.