Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Grand Opening of the Daniel Boone Tavern Oct. 13, 1917

Article is from the Columbia Missourian, Sunday, Oct. 14, 1917, p.1.  Original program is from the Boone County Historical Society collection, donated by Tom and Laura Crane. 

Daniel Boone Tavern Makes Its Formal Bow to State of Missouri.
Message of Congratulation Indicate Widespread Interest in New Hostelry.

Columbia celebrated the formal opening of the New Daniel Boone Tavern last night with a banquet in the hotel ballroom attended by 250 persons, including a number from out of town.

The banquet was one of the most significant ever held in Columbia. Many leading business and professional men of Missouri, unable to be present, expressed by letter or telegram their interest in the new improvement and their regrets at not being able to attend the opening. Those who attended pronounced the event most successful in showing the appreciation of this city for the addition to its hotel facilities, and the interest of the community in the enterprise.

Arrangement of Tables.
At 7:30 o’clock the guests were seated at the tables filling the large ballroom. At the south end was the speakers’ table, decorated with flowers and ferns. The tables occupying the rest of the room were arranged in tree-like fashion, with a long table extending the length of the hall, flanked on each side by tables set obliquely.

At each plate was a printed announcement of the formal
opening of the Tavern, giving the menu and the list of speakers. [See end of post for evening's program.] On the back of the booklet was a picture representing the arrival of Daniel Boone at the present site of Columbia, with a sketch of the hotel bearing his name in the background. Each guest was also provided with a booklet entitled “Our Anthems–State and National,” which contained the words of “American,” “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Old Missouri,” and “Auld Lang Syne.”

The five-course dinner was served by a large force of negro waiters. At the close of the meal, E.W. Stephens, as toastmaster, opened the program of speeches. Calling attention to the events which make this a time for unusual patriotism, the toastmaster called upon all the guests to join in singing “America.”

Messages From Out of Town.
To prove that the celebration was not merely local but of statewide interest, Mr. Stephens read letters and telegrams from the following persons expressing their regrets at not being able to attend: Judge John F. Philips of Kansas City, former Federal judge; George S. Johns, editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; W.M. Ledbetter, of the editorial staff of the St. Louis Republic; L.C. Nelson of St. Louis; S.J. Whitmore and Joseph Reichele of the Muehlebach Hotel, Kansas City; Ketner Hudson Dorr of the Densmore Hotel, Kansas City; James J. McTague of the Maryland Hotel, St. Louis; R.E. Stout, managing editor of the Kansas City Star, and several others.

The Charm of Columbia.
The first speaker was A.W. Douglas, vice-president of the Simmons Hardware Company of St. Louis, who made the trip to Columbia especially for the occasion. Mr. Douglas said in part:
“To one who is used to wandering over the face of the world such a tavern as this means a great deal. I think this is one of the most beautiful structures of its kind on the United States. And not only do you have one [of] the finest hotels in the country in Columbia, but you also have here the school that is the dearest and most precious in my mind–the University of Missouri.
“What impresses many in St. Louis is the way Columbia has made itself a place where people are glad to live. I am watching your progress with eager interest all the time.”

A.T. Dumm, of Jefferson City, a member of the Missouri State Legislature, expressed his appreciation of the enterprise shown by Columbia in erecting the Daniel Boone Tavern, and likened the faith of Columbians’ in the future progress of this city to the faith in themselves that led Daniel Boone and his contemporaries to brave the wilderness in breaking the path for the spread of civilization in Missouri. He emphasized the present need for men with faith in their country and the courage to sacrifice fo rit in the present world crisis.

Days of Trail Blazing.
Dean Walter Williams compared the present days with those to come. His address in part follows:
“these are days of glory as well a days that are grim; these are days of trail blazing, not as Daniel Boone blazed the trail on which this hotel is located throughout the West in seeking salt licks and coon skins and bears. There are no more countries to discover. But in these days consciences are being discovered; national conscience and a world conscience are being discovered. We are blazing the trail to larger things in these days.
“ I am more concerned with the days to come than these days. No age in world history has had its mind fixed on the future more than these days. But in passing I might say that we must look to the present. Unless we improve the condition of the trail on which this hotel is located, it will make the Daniel Boone Tavern look like a diamond on a dirty shirt. We must make the Old Trails Highway safe for democracy.”

A Look Into the Future.
Assuming the role of prophet, Dean Williams predicted the end of the divine rights of kings and kaiserism with the next year.
“The coming days will bring also a spiritual change,” he added, “that will bring us nearer God. The days that are to come will be as we make them, not as we dream they will be.”

After the singing of “the Star Spangled Banner,” Mrs. L.W. St. Clair Moss, president of Christian College, read a poem of her own composition entitled “Greetings to Rebecca Bryan Boone,” in commemoration of the part the wife of Daniel Boone played in the task of spreading civilization over Missouri.

The banquet ended with the singing of “Old Missouri” and “Auld Lang Syne.” The tables were immediately cleared from the floor, and dancing began. “Home Sweet Home” was played at midnight.


A similar, but shorter, article about the opening appeared in the Columbia Daily Tribune of Monday, Oct. 15, 1917. The Tribune had also run an article a day before the grand opening.

Despite the picture on the evening's program, there is no hard evidence that Daniel Boone was ever in the county that bears his name, much less at the site of what would become Columbia.  Certainly his sons, Daniel Morgan and Nathan Boone traveled across what became Boone county going to and from their salt operation at Boone's Lick in what is now southwest Howard county.  The trails that they traveled then did not pass within several miles of the future site of Columbia.

The word "tavern" in the name was used as in eighteenth and nineteenth century America to designate an inn to accommodate travelers.  Though drink could be obtained, the building's primary purpose was as a "hostelry."  The building still serves Columbia well but now as city government offices.

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