Sedalia History

All Along Ohio StreetIllustrated history of Sedalia, Missouri
All Around Downtown Vol. 1Illustrated history of Downtown Sedalia, Missouri
Legendary Locals of SedaliaLegendary Locals Series
SedaliaImages of America Series
SedaliaImages of Modern America Series
Sedalia—Past & Present Series

Pettis County History

A Town of Their OwnIllustrated history of Longwood, Missouri
Down by PinhookA visit to the Hopewell Community and Cemetery, Pettis County, Missouri
Just Like A VisitA personal, historical stroll through Mt. Herman Cemetery, Pettis County, Missouri
Life and Times Along MuddyA scrapbook history of early Pettis County and Sedalia, Missouri

Pettis County and Sedalia History Books

My earliest memories of Sedalia involve walking along Ohio Street (as we always called it, although the “street” officially is an avenue) with my mother and grandmother. These hand-in-hand strolls shaped my perspective about life—and downtown.

Grandma had been born in the 1890s, a few miles north of Sedalia. Trips to town in her era were infrequent but exciting. They involved horses, undeveloped roads, and swollen streams. In fact, one uncle drowned when his team ran into Cedar Creek on the way to town.

Thirty years later, when Mom was growing up during the Great Depression, going to town remained an adventure. On Saturday mornings, her father cranked up the Model T coupe while her mother gathered a bucket of eggs. Mom or her brothers were dispatched to catch a couple of chickens. Mom’s brothers stashed the live chickens in a gunnysack, and they crawled into the trunk of the car with the chickens. Mom and her parents rode inside the car. Everyone held on tight while bumping across the viaduct, until Grandpa finally angle-parked on Main Street. Grandma and Mom climbed out to sell the poultry for grocery money, while Grandpa went to a pool hall. The boys hung out in the car, talking with passers by.

Another 30 years passed, and my family drove to town in our first car with factory air-conditioning. Our activities seemed tame by Depression standards: no eggs, no live chickens, no brothers, and certainly no pool hall! Grandma and Mom took me to visit the museum in the courthouse and sample pimento cheese sandwiches at Flower’s Tea Room.


Strolling with my mother and grandmother.

I had no way of knowing that in another three decades, I would return downtown with my own family. I was newly widowed with children aged two and seven. In the midst of the uncertainty surrounding my husband’s sudden death, I knew what to do. I took each child by the hand and went downtown.

A few years later, I purchased my first historic building in downtown Sedalia and became active in civic groups dedicated to revitalizing the area’s unique commerce and culture. Now I frequently speak to groups about Sedalia history, sharing my story about how downtown makes me look back with gratitude and forward with expectation.

My books about Sedalia history are my way of paying tribute to the visionaries who paved the way for us today. I hope they prompt you to stroll though downtown Sedalia, even if your “vehicle” is an armchair. Be part of the history that still is being written—all around downtown.

Pettis County History Books

The story of Sedalia’s founding actually begins a few miles north of town. My mother, Betty Wasson Singer, has written several books about that area. Through her books, also on this website, you can be part of the caravan that traveled from Kentucky to Sedalia to found Pettis County and, eventually, Sedalia.