COLUMBIA — The doors of the council chambers on the fourth floor of the old Daniel Boone Building were officially locked at 6:30 p.m. Monday following a decommissioning ceremony.
Mayor Darwin Hindman said the high ceilinged council chambers in the old Boone Building, which was previously a ballroom, will be made into two floors of office space.
For the past 34 years, it was a meeting place for Columbia's City Council and citizens who wished to address their local government — from planning and zoning decisions to urban chicken ordinances, city leaders shaped Columbia for more than a quarter of a century inside the fourth floor chambers.
For 58 years before that, the building was used for various other purposes. From 1917 to 1949, it was a tavern and hotel, complete with a ballroom. Harry S. Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt were both guests there.
Through renovations, the old Boone Building will continue to be a meeting place; city employees may meet around the water cooler in their new offices.
Bob Roper, chair of the Public Buildings and Finance Committee, thanked city employees for working well with overcrowding in the years before the addition's completion.
Mayor Darwin Hindman closed the last meeting in the old building by honoring the work done there. Work, he said, "that has paved the road upon which the city was built."
Four firemen in their formal uniforms solemnly brought the flags from the old chambers and led a procession to the new chambers.
City Manager Bill Watkins presented Hindman, who is currently serving his last term, with a gavel made from the wood of the dais in the old chambers.
Cathy Cox sang the national anthem and everyone in attendance recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the newly placed U.S. flag.
Hindman gave the new gavel its very first strike against the new dais, and the council meeting officially began.