Mayor Brian Treece wants the city’s celebration of its bicentennial to be special, so he plans to appoint a task force to make sure it’s done right.

The Columbia City Council discussed the appointment of the task force during its meeting Monday night, when Treece recounted Columbia’s origins. Its first iteration was as the Village of Smithton in 1818, in the area where the Walnut Street water tower now stands. Due to a lack of water, the settlers moved to the plateau between Flat Branch and Hinkson Creek. The year was 1821, and the settlement would be known as Columbia.

Rather than try to celebrate 200 years of history in one weekend, the mayor’s task force would plan and host a series of citywide events between 2018 and 2021. It also would plan a celebration of the centennial of the Daniel Boone Tavern and Hotel in 1917.

City Manager Mike Matthes and staff proposed the resolution to engage the community in planning historical and educational celebrations. The mayor’s task force will appoint committees to raise money and plan activities for the bicentennial.

Treece wants the task force to include several different subcommittees, including an African American bureau.

“I want to make sure it’s an inclusive and diverse task force,” Treece said. “Not just the dominant culture’s influence, but that Flat Branch was an important part of African American commerce.”

Treece mentioned including Boone County commissioners, the Boone County Historical Society, the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, the state of Missouri and Columbia Public Schools in the planning.

“There would be some interesting curriculum opportunities, if not a time capsule in our Columbia Public School system as we commemorate 200 years,” Treece said.

Missouri celebrates its bicentennial in August 2021.

Third Ward Council Member Karl Skala tried to sum up the theme of the celebration.

“Where we were, where we are now and how we got there,” Skala said. “A lot of these groups can certainly contribute to that.”

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford:, 884-5366.

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