Members of the Franklin County Bicentennial Committee met Thursday, July 12, at the Franklin County Government Center in Union to discuss plans for the upcoming celebration, which will begin this fall and continue throughout next year.
In December 1818, the Missouri State Legislature made the decision to create Franklin County out of St. Louis County; however, it was not implemented until January 1819.
The bicentennial committee discussed a marketing plan to create kites — as an ode to Benjamin Franklin, the county’s namesake — that could be as public art and placed in significant places around the county, similar to how St. Louis placed birthday cakes around the region to mark that city’s 250th birthday.
The kites also could be part of a scavenger hunt-type of activity to encourage people to visit them or seek them out.
The University of Missouri Extenstion Office is considering activities and events that will connect youth to the celebration.
The committee also discussed the idea of hosting a farm tour as a way to spotlight the agriculture of the county or hosting a speaker series about the ag history. The Pelster House-Barn near New Haven was mentioned as an important historical site and a possible tour stop or speaker topic.
The kickoff event for Franklin County’s 200th birthday will be a dedication of the first courthouse site and old-fashioned church picnic Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Newport Presbyterian Church. Newport was chosen for this honor because it’s the site of the original county seat and courthouse.
A monument is being created by St. Clair Monument Company to mark the Newport site. It will include some of the stone from the original courthouse.
The dedication ceremony will be held from 1 to 2 p.m., followed by the picnic from 2 to 6 p.m.
An opening ceremony for the bicentennial celebration has been set for Jan. 12 at 2 p.m. at East Central College. Watch The Missourian for more details.
Other planned events and activities include a bicentennial parade, a bus tour of limestone churches, an art show, historical lectures and an event at Röbller Winery in New Haven.
A set of traveling history panels is being created and will be set up at the various events.
A website with more information on the bicentennial can be found at www.franklinmo200.com. It includes information about the communities in Franklin County, as well as people, places and photos.
The website currently is a work in progress and more information is being added.
The next meeting of the bicentennial committee will be held Thursday, Aug. 9, at 3 p.m. in Union.