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Got this nice note from Dottie Stoerker-Peters that I thought I would pass along:
I belong to a group called the Westerners. It meets here at the Country Club the second Thursday of the month. They have interesting speakers from the community and elsewhere who talk on historic subjects of one kind or another. We get together about 6 P.M., have a drink together, or just visit, then we have dinner (and they are very good dinners) and then about 7 P.M. we take a break before the speaker takes over. It’s always a pleasant evening together. The Eifferts, the Metzens and Barbara Harris have recently joined and they all say how nice it is to see neighbors and friends and have a nice dinner and speaker so close to home.
The Westerners are always looking for new members, so i thought I’d tell you about this. Perhaps you would send a message to the neighbors telling them about our group. I have been taking neighbors as my guests, but I think we could just invite them to come on their own. Dinner never costs more than $12 or $13. And the annual membership fee is $15 for an individual or $25 for a couple. Each month a letter comes to the members telling them about the speaker and inviting them to come to the meeting. If you will let me know who is interested in coming to the next meeting, I’ll pass the message on to our host and hostess, who will in turn invite them to come. If they like us, they may want to join. If not, at least they’ll have an opportunity to see whats happening in the neighborhood.
For more information, contact Dottie. If you need her contact information, drop me a note.
News item in yesterday’s Tribune may be of interest to our neighborhood:
Funds sought for Rock Bridge pavilion, kiosk.
Forty-four years ago, Lew Stoerker decided to create a place for children to enjoy nature’s glory.
The place would be a tribute to his daughter, Carol, who loved the outdoors and died tragically in a car accident at age 9.
In 1965, Stoerker gathered together six friends from the Optimist Club to serve as a board of directors and won a $10,000 pledge from the president of the University of Missouri to begin buying up land south of Columbia.
These days, the 2,000 acres of woodlands and pastures studded with rare geological formations that he helped preserve are known as Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. A boulder at the south entrance to the park along Highway 163 has a plaque mounted on it commemorating Carol’s life.
I think we can fairly say that Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is one of our city’s best and best-known assets. The foresight shown in preserving it from development has paid off handsomely for all who live or visit here.
And it is time that the driving force behind this treasure is recognized. That’s the intent of Dorothy Stoerker-Peters (Lew’s widow, our neighbor) and the Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park. Also from the Tribune article:
From 8 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Applebee’s restaurant at 2601 E. Broadway, Stoerker-Peters and other members of the Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial State Park will hold a benefit breakfast to raise money for a kiosk with panels containing information about Stoerker, the founding of the park and other notable facts.
The breakfast, including pancakes, bacon, eggs and hash browns, costs $5 for adults and is free to children younger than 8. Santa Claus is rumored to be planning a guest appearance.
Stoerker-Peters said the fund to pay for the kiosk stands at about $14,000, and she needs about $65,000 to pay for the structure. The covered kiosk/pavilion will be located in the Devil’s Icebox parking lot and hold seats for about 30 people. It will feature six informational panels with material on the park’s topography, the history of the area and the flora and fauna inside the park.
If you can, swing by Applebee’s tomorrow morning. If you can’t, and would like to make a donation to the fund, I’m sure Dorothy would be happy to accept your contribution any time.
This is the first in an occasional series about the history of our neighborhood. I was encouraged to write and post these by Jim (and several other people), so here is a start.
In about 1880, Dr. A.W. McAlester bought approximately 160 acres of land on the east side of Columbia. This land makes up a large part of what is now the Country Club Estates neighborhood.
Andrew Walker McAlester was born in Rocheport on January 1, 1841. He was the youngest of five children of Brightberry McAlester, who was a lumber merchant and builder, and his wife, Mary Ann. They moved their family to Columbia in about 1846, where Brightberry was principal in a large contracting firm that built the county courthouse, a county jail, and several buildings on the new University of Missouri campus, including the (then) President’s home. The free-standing columns at the courthouse are all that remains of the courthouse he helped build, and the President’s home is now the Chancellor’s Residence on the Red Campus.
Young Andrew – or A.W., as he became known – graduated from the university in literary studies in 1864 and went on to receive a medical degree from St. Louis Medical College in 1866. He also attended medical schools in Chicago, New York, London and Paris, and visited medical schools in Germany.
When the brand new “medical department” at the University of Missouri was begun in 1872, Dr. McAlester was appointed chair of Obstetrics and Surgery. He worked with his friend, Frank Nifong (Maplewood House) to develop the fledgling department into a real medical school. In 1880 he was appointed Medical Dean of the expanded medical department, a position he held until he retired at the age of 68 in 1909. Under his guidance, the medical school became a premiere teaching institution in medicine. He has been called the “Father of the University of Missouri School of Medicine” because of his “intent, interest in founding, establishing and organizing the school and getting it into action.”* In a lecture about medical education, he said: “To become successful doctors of medicine implies not only good soil, but good culture also. All culture and no soil makes Jack a dull boy; all soil and no culture reaches the same undesirable end.”*
About the time he was appointed Medical Dean, he also bought his tract of land on the east side of town, where he proceeded to build his farm. This included his handsome frame house on the hill, built in about 1883, with several barns, a windmill and many fences. His lane came in through a stone-built gateway, part of which can still be seen at the intersection of Country Club Drive and Old 63. He raised thoroughbred horses on his farm and showed them in local shows. As well as being a teacher of medicine, he was a medical doctor and probably had an office in his new home. The northern boundary of his farm laid along a line which is now McAlester street (and it’s imaginary extention); the southern boundary along the fence line south of South Country Club Drive, which divides our neighborhood from the ones to the south.
* both quotes are cited in A History of Medicine in Missouri by E. J. Goodwin, published in 1905