Celebrate 200 years of Missouri history in Phelps County

Lori Amos
The Rolla Daily News
Downtown Rolla in Phelps County.

In celebration of Missouri’s 2021 bicentennial, Rolla High School, Rolla Public Library, the St. James Chamber of Commerce and Missouri University of Science and Technology will be holding events commemorating the 200th anniversary of Missouri’s entry as the 24th state to the United States.

Here’s a lineup of area events where residents can explore the milestones that have shaped the community, region and the entire state.

Exploring History Through Tools and Other Objects

Rolla Public Library will hold a virtual history program in celebration of Missouri’s bicentennial. The lecture will cover how individuals would live if they didn’t have electricity. Many Missourians lived and worked without electric lights, electric-powered tools, or even running water not too long ago. One way to get to know history is to explore objects like tools, which can help individuals understand how people lived and worked.

When: Friday, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

Where: https://rollapubliclibrary.org/adults-missouri-bicentennial

More Information: https://missouri2021.org/portfolio/missouri-history-with-the-rolla-public-library

Dewey Defeats Truman with A.J. Baime

New York Times best-selling author A.J. Baime joins Derek Zboran and the Rolla Public Library to discuss the riveting presidential election of 1948. Discover how Missouri underdog Harry S. Truman defied the media and members of both major political parties to be elected President of the United States. Watch live and directly ask questions via chat to the author. A recording will also be available.

When: July 30, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: https://rollapubliclibrary.org/adults-missouri-bicentennial

More Information: https://missouri2021.org/portfolio/missouri-history-with-the-rolla-public-library

Rolla High School Ice Cream Social

Join Rolla High School from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10 at the corner of Pine and 11th streets, as the school celebrates the 200th anniversary of Missouri’s statehood during a statewide ice cream social. The first 1,000 people will receive one free ice cream or cold treat from Snowie Shaved Ice, Soda and Scoops on Route 66, South Central Creamery or Sweet Stop Ice Cream. Stick around and grab a bite to eat at one of the local food trucks and enjoy music by Rolla native Justyn Moreland. The Rolla ice cream social sponsors celebrate milestone anniversaries of their own — 150 years of Bulldog Nation, 150 years of Missouri S&T, 100 years of the Rolla Chamber of Commerce and 100 years of the Miner Alumni Association. 

When: Aug. 10, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: At the corner of Pine and 11th streets

More Information: https://community.umsystem.edu/engagements/rolla-ice-cream-social

St. James Grape and Fall Festival

The St. James Grape and Fall Festival runs Sept. 8 through Sept. 11.

Residents are invited to the long-standing tradition of the annual St. James Grape and Fall Festival. The festival first began in 1933 to celebrate the grape harvest by the Italian families who settled in St. James and grew grapes originating from Italy. This year, in honor of the state bicentennial, St. James Grape and Fall Festival will look back at the history of where the festival and town originated and celebrate how far individuals have come today, looking ahead to where future generations will take them. The St. James Grape and Fall Festival provides an opportunity for 4-H and FFA students to participate in the Junior Livestock Show and Sale, and residents will find art displays, an assortment of produce, flowers and baked goods in the fair’s exhibit hall. The festival will host nightly main events. This year’s line-up includes a concert by Maddie and Tae, a concert featuring John Tibbs, a demolition derby and several other daily activities. The festival will also have the traditional carnival rides, games and food vendors. The 2021 Grape and Fall Festival would not be complete without the traditional Grape Stomp and the crowning of the Grape and Fall Festival queen. 

When: Sept. 8 - Sept. 11 

Where: Nelson Hart Park

More Information: https://stjameschamber.net/grape-and-fall-festival

Batteries in the microgrid, solar houses

The Bicentennial Alliance Lecture Series, presented by Tom Yarborough, a Ph.D. student in civil engineering, will look at how batteries in the microgrid manage and store renewable energy, and what that means for the future of Missouri solar houses. The lecture is part of the Missouri 2021 Bicentennial Alliance lecture series hosted by the Missouri University of Science and Technology. The series, “Honoring our past, envisioning the future,” celebrates the region's rich cultural history and explores social and economic growth topics relative to Missouri residents. All lectures in the series will be available for live public viewing. The Missouri 2021 Bicentennial Alliance is an initiative of the State Historical Society of Missouri and its Center for Missouri Studies.

When: Sept. 21, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: https://calendar.mst.edu/event/batteries_in_the_microgrid_solar_houses

More Information: https://150.mst.edu

Phelps County Commemorative Quilt 

The State Historical Society and the Missouri Star Quilt Company, in partnership with the Missouri State Quilters Guild teamed up to create the Missouri Bicentennial Quilt. The Phelps County Commemorative Quilt was made by a local group of six quilters, for the St. James Chamber of Commerce, to help celebrate Phelps County’s contribution to the State for the past 200 years.

The Phelps County Commemorative Quilt was made by a local group of six quilters for the St. James Chamber of Commerce to celebrate Phelps County’s contribution to the state for the past 200 years. The first settlers arrived in the Phelps County area sometime around 1818. Throughout the 200 plus years, Phelps County citizens have made some very significant contributions to not only the state but worldwide. The quilters worked with the Phelps County Historical Society to research the county, the various points of interest, and some people who have impacted the area throughout history. The group says they have enjoyed learning more about Phelps County’s history and all the towns that make up the county. They also enjoyed creating the block patterns reflecting the county’s natural resources, beauty and interest. The commemorative quilt will be displayed at the St. James Tourist Information Center Oct 1-5 and then available to be displayed throughout the county and state. It will end its tour at the 2021 St. James Grape and Fall Festival, where it will be displayed in the exhibition hall Aug. 25-28. For more information, please get in touch with the St. James Chamber of Commerce Director at director@stjameschamber.net.

When: Oct. 1 - Oct. 5

Where: 134 State Highway B

More Information: https://missouri2021.org/portfolio/phelps-county-commemorative-quilt-project

Building Microsatellites for the Future

The lecture series, presented by Hank Pernicka, professor of aerospace engineering and Dean’s Educator Scholar at Missouri University of Science and Technology, will take a look at how microsatellites could be used to inspect satellites, do small repairs or refuel spacecraft - and help eliminate the need for risky spacewalks when something goes wrong. The lecture is part of the Missouri 2021 Bicentennial Alliance lecture series hosted by Missouri S&T. 

When: Oct. 5, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: https://calendar.mst.edu/event/building_microsatellites_for_the_future

More Information: http://150.mst.edu

Missouri's German Heritage

Residents have the opportunity to learn how German-speaking settlers influenced agriculture, arts, sciences and beer. Presented by Petra Dewitt, assistant professor of history and political science at Missouri University of Science and Technology, the lecture is part of the Missouri 2021 Bicentennial Alliance lecture series hosted by the Missouri University of Science and Technology. 

When: Oct. 19, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: https://calendar.mst.edu/event/missouris_german_heritage

More Information: https://150.mst.edu

Editors Note: The State Historical Society of Missouri is the source of information for this article.