Black Columbia

    The Origins of Columbia

The first natives of this area were the indigenous people that we call “American Indians.” They arrived before 11,000 years ago. Their descendants evolved culturally settled in communities and perfected agriculture, most signifcantly introducting corn. Pottery was also developed. They sometimes buried thier dead in mounds that are still evident, especially in bluffs overlooking the Missouri River and associated streams, inclucing Flat Branch in Columbia. Many hundres of other prehistoric American Indian occupation sites are known today in Boone COunty, evidence of their long and intense presence in this area before the arrival of the Euro-Afro-American settlers. Between 1818-19 these later settlers laid out a village named Smithton in the vicinity to today’s Garth and Walnut Streets. This settlement failed when locals grew weary of toting water up a steep hill from the Flat Branch. The new town of Columbia was then platted around the 1820 cabin of THomas Duly at the present day southeast corner of Broadway and Fifth. By 1821, the village consisted of fifteen to twenty log structrures huddled together in a clearing on the Flat Branch surrounded by dense wilderness.

    Social institutions of Columbia’s Black Community

John W (“Blind”) Boone House, 4th street
Fred Douglass High School, 310 N. Providence
St. Paul’s AME Church, 501 Park Street
Second Baptist Church, 407 East Broadway
Second Christian Church, 401 South 5th Street
Tiger Hotel, 23 South 8th Street
Wabash Railroad Station and Freight House, 10th street