From booming town to revitalization efforts, Blackwater's history presented Oct. 10

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The "History of Blackwater" Early Missouri Lecture Series will be presented on Oct. 10 during Blackwater's Fall Fest.

John Alvae, who is in the process of writing two books, will discuss Blackwater and the history of the railroad running through it.

Blackwater is located in central Missouri, approximately 20 miles southeast of Marshall. The Missouri Pacific Railroad Co. surveyed land in 1887 to build its "River Route" to connect Kansas City to Boonville and Jefferson City. Along the newly built railroad, small towns appeared, including Blackwater. In 1887, W.C. Morris filed a plat in St. Louis for a town called Blackwater. The town was named after the Blackwater River, known for its rich black soil.

The town boomed in the 1920s due to the railroad refueling station and stone quarry. In the 1940s, transportation made it easier for residents to travel farther to other cities for jobs and shopping. The railroad switched to diesel engines, which did not have to stop for refueling, and the quarry closed after hitting fresh water springs. By 1990, only four businesses had survived.

Residents soon came together to rebuild the town, forming new organizations, using grants and bonds for funding and house rehabilitations, and laid new brick sidewalks. New shops moved in, a building was donated for a telephone museum, a veterans memorial and the West End Theatre were established, and the Iron Horse Hotel was renovated.

Alvae's presentation over Blackwater's history will be at 2 p.m. on Oct. 10 in the parlor of the Iron Horse Hotel in Blackwater.

The "History of Blackwater" is the final presentation of the Blackwater 2015 Lecture Series. Previous presentations included lectures on the Civil War, the War of 1812 and Missouri Long Hunters. The event is free and open to the public.

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