City officials reflect and look forward on one historical building

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COLUMBIA - A man who helped establish Columbia in the 19th century has left his mark on the city's history, and one building in particular.

The man is Daniel Boone.

Columbia Civic Relations Officer Toni Messina said Boone helped lead settlers to the west.

"Missouri was a settlement place for his sons who had a salt lick or started a salt lick in the area of Arrow Rock in Saline County," she said.

Boone's name is on a library branch and a hospital, as well as the Daniel Boone Hotel and Tavern, which has been around since 1917.

"It was a community gathering place as well as a spot where you could come and spend the night," Messina said.

Columbia Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine said the city took over the building after a fire in the 1970s.

"A decision was made in 1970, or shortly after the fire, for the city and county to go into purchasing the building together and renovating it for use of city government offices," he said. "That was done and the city and county began operating as a joint government facility in 1972."

Romaine said in the 1990s, the county government decided to construct its own building and the city would take over the Daniel Boone building completely, as well as putting up a new building on the lot on Broadway.

He said the current site of City Hall was built and dedicated in March 2010, and the Daniel Boone building was renovated and dedicated in March 2011.

"One of the things we tried to do was make a conscious decision that we wanted to respect the history that was in the 1917 tavern and hotel," Romaine said.

He said the city tried to match the architectural appearance of the building to the time in which it was originally built.

"I think our architects did a really good job of kind of blending the past with the present," Romaine said.

In 2017, the former hotel will celebrate a big birthday.

"In a couple of years, we'll celebrate 100 years of the Daniel Boone building in our community," Romaine said. "I think that's an important factor, part of our past and something the community should celebrate."

Messina said she hopes to start a committee to plan a celebration but doesn't have any plans set in stone yet.

"I think people naturally want to celebrate milestones, whether it's a 50 year anniversary of a couple's being together or a 100 year anniversary of a city being founded or a building being built," she said. "It's a real good opportunity to use that as a hook to get some community involvement, community engagement to say this building as been here for 100 years, it started as a gathering place for people from near and far and it's still a gathering place."