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It’s official — I’ve replaced my freelance writer’s hat with … two other hats! In 2022, I helped found CoMo Preservation, a new organization dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of historic preservation in Columbia, Missouri, and helping people and institutions find alternatives to demolition. Today I am the organization’s president. Take a peek at what we’re doing at CoMo and sign up to get updates.

In 2021, I released my newest book — yes during the pandemic — Historic Movie Theaters of Columbia. Hop over to the buy now page and grab a copy! The book covers the history of Columbia’s movie theaters from 1897 until 1921. It profiles all 28 of our city’s movie theaters from the Haden Opera House to the Ragtag Cinema, tracing Columbia’s social, cultural and economic changes. (Drop me a note if you need a speaker at your next event or book club!)

You can also buy my book at Skylark Bookshop, Yellow Dog Bookshop and Bluestem on Ninth Street, the Boone County History & Culture Center on Ponderosa Drive and the State Historical Society of Missouri’s gift shop at 605 Elm St.)

These days, I’m focusing on writing about Columbia’s history and historic preservation and you can catch up with me at, a website where I’ve been collecting and sharing Columbia’s history since 2010.

I started that website 2010 when I got an assignment to write about the historic renovation of the Berry Building by John Ott. I became fascinated, OK obsessed, let’s be honest here, with the intersection of history and economic development. An old building isn’t just a pile of bricks, it can be an economic engine.

Historic preservation also creates markers for our history, a way to save the stories of people and events that we might forget if not for the building.

For example, in a later article, I highlighted the life and house of J.W. “Blind” Boone, a famous African-American musician. If not for the preservation of his home, his story of breaking barriers would have been lost after his 1927 death. Boone was known for his wealth derived from traveling the nation, playing ragtime and classical music on the same stage for both white and Black audiences. In fact, Boone often played in venues that would have required him to sit in the balcony — if he had been admitted at all — during those segregated times. In Columbia, for example, he played in the Columbia Theatre, a luxurious two-story movie theater that only months earlier had shown the racist film, Birth of a Nation, a theatre that required African American patrons to sit in the balcony.

So I guess I’ve retired, but I’m still clacking away on my keyboard. Keep up with me at and — and drop me a note if you need a speaker for your group or club. I love to talk about historic preservation and movie theaters!

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