"Off the beaten path.....just around the corner..."
Morrison is named after Alfred William Morrison, a plantation owner and former state treasurer of the state of Missouri. It is not known if Alfred Morrison ever resided in Morrison. The 1860 census shows his son, William J. Morrison, in residence. On March 27, 1860, William Morrison was appointed Morrison's first postmaster. The city was first organized in 1899.
The Pacific Railroad was completed through the community in 1855. About the same time, William Morrison opened a store and bought a depot which he had moved from Dresden to Morrison. However, William Morrison's business ventures were disrupted by the start of the American Civil War. Alfred Morrison was from the South with roots in Kentucky. Within two months after Fort Sumter, a new postmaster was appointed for Morrison.
The William Morrison home was sold to Julius Meyer, a native of Prussia. Mr. Meyer had the first plat for the city of Morrison made in 1868. Mr. Meyer donated the land for at least one church and the present city park.
The original home of Robert Shobe is referred to as the Morrison House. This house is a large two-story weatherboard log home. There are two rooms on each floor joined at the center by a main stairway and a hallway which runs from the front to the back of the house. The house also has a small spiral secret stairway joining the rooms on the east side. A cow shed located to the rear of the house is believed to have been the first dwelling until construction of the main house was completed. In 1976, a federal Bicentennial fund grant was received to renovate the house and Morrison was designated as a Missouri Bicentennial Commission City.
Morrison suffered a devastating fire in the downtown area in 1909. Robbers trying to blow the safe at the town store started a fire that burned the east side of Main Street. There were at least 9 buildings destroyed. The buildings were rebuilt using brick to reduce the risk of fire. The fire also prompted the city to build a water system for fire protection and later for drinking. The water mains were built of salvaged tile and hardware from the St. Louis Worlds Fair of 1904.
The Morrison railroad depot was closed in the late 1960s. Morrison received national attention in October 1987 when two trains traveling through town collided resulted in a large fire. Because several tanker cars in the fire would have released a toxic gas if they had broken open, the town was evacuated.
Flood waters from the Missouri River and local creeks have been a constant hazard for Morrison. The downtown area is protected by a levee along Baileys Creek and the Missouri River bottom lands. The first severe recorded flood occurred in 1903. Several additional floods were recorded in following years with a culmination in the Great Flood of 1993 during which flood waters topped the levee and flooded the downtown area. Residents awoke in the early morning hours to find flood waters pouring into the downtown area following a night of unusually heavy rains. After the flood waters receded, some of the downtown buildings were demolished and areas turned into a city park. The flood in Morrison was featured on local and national news shows.
History of Chamois
In 1832, Dr. John M. Townley , age 31, came from the state of Virginia to Osage County Missouri, riding on horseback. He settled southeast of Chamois, more than 20 years before Chamois was a town. In 1834, he built a one-room log cabin out in the boondocks, which he used as his medical office, later adding on a room that became the first school in the area.In 1854, a man named Morgan Harbor gave the name Chamois to the small community that had grown up along the newly constructed Missouri Pacific railroad tracks. Legend has it that he named the town after a deer he saw, which he thought was a chamois. The first building in Chamois was a two-story log hotel and bar, built in 1854 on the north side of the railroad tracks, on the west side of Main street, next to the future location of the red brick Masonic Hall, built in 1856. Later, a large brick hotel was built on the west side of Main Street, right next to the railroad tracks.
In 1913 the People’s Bank opened on the east side of Main Street in the brick building that later became the Post Office. This building with its classic columns is possibly the most beautiful building in Chamois. It is now a Bed & Breakfast called A Whistle Stop Inn and the red brick building next to it, which used to be Bauer’s hardware store, is now a restaurant and bar. The new Post Office is on the other side of the restaurant. In the 2000 census, Chamois had a population of 456. The town is located 23 miles from Hermann and 45 miles from Jefferson City. For a complete photo essay you can visit www.myphotoessay.com/GgenBaugher/Chamois.html