Golden City History
Golden City, Missouri, Barton County, USA.  In 1866, there were few people in this area.  There was however, an abundance of wildlife and prarie, lots and lots of praire.

Actually, an area called Golden Grove came before Golden City.  One source says that some of Ponce De Leon's gold hungry men found this little grove about 3 miles NW of the current Golden City around 1512, and began mining it for gold, or possibly silver.  Others say it was DeSoto, and the time was around 1620.

Either way, between that era and 1866, the whites began settling all around the area more and more.

The Golden Grove area was between Lamar, Missouri, in Barton County,  and Greenfield, Missouri, in Dade County.  About a 35 mile stretch between the two.

Some of the first settlers around the area had names like Butterfield, Brock, Wyatt, Hickman and Appleby.

In 1866, Dave Appleby put up a General Store in what would become Golden City.  The same year, Willis Hicks started a Blacksmith Shop.  The seeds had been sown.

A Post Office appeared in 1867, with Ben Appleby as the 1st Postmaster.

In 1869, J.T. Wyatt, and Tubal Crain Brock both donated tracts of land for the town.  A Dade County Surveyor, Arch Long, was called in to survey for the Platt.  Something was said about what the town was going to be called.  The surveyor mentioned that they already had a Golden Grove, so why not call it Golden City?  And the name stuck.

Around 1871, Golden City had a population of about 150.  By 1882, it was 1200.  Some of the individuals that were foremost in Golden City development were Willis Hicks, Dave Appleby, Ben Appleby, F.C. Brock, J.T. Wyatt, T.W.Bates, John Garret, G.H. Hall, Dr. A.E. Maridick, George Ackason and W.H. Pemberton.

By 1874, Abe Sandford put up a hotel. Mr. White started a drugstore, Mr. Garret had a dry goods/clothing store.  Dr. Durborow showed up as did the Undertaker Mr. Johnson, follwed by another Dr. A.E. Mardick.  The IOOF began at this time also, with a membership of 41..  A school was built, as was the Methodist Church.  A new Methodist Church was built in 1890.  It burned in 1954, and built again in 1955.

In 1877, Charles Harrison started a Harness Shop, Mr. Campbell was a shoe/boot maker.  Dr. George Ackason arrived.  Some carpenters were Steve Sanders, Ben Evans, and Thomas Newman.  W.H. Pemberton started a hardware store and Tin shop in 1878, and also sold farm equipment.

In 1880, the Gavin Brothers started a butcher shop.  G.W. Holiday opened a real estate office, a livery stable came from Mr. Calahan, and barber shop by Mr. Hughes.

The big news in 1880 was the railroad.  The Kansas City/Fort Scott & Gulf Railroad had become a reality.  This caused 1881 to explode with businesses.  A 2nd drug store by Thomas Crank, another dry goods store by O.E. Cooper, and another Dr. W.A. Lowrance.  H.H. Steele put up a grain elevator.  MuCune & Boyd started a flour mill and the Presbyterian Church was built.  Home Lumber Co. was started, a much needed business.  Prior to the arrival of the railroad, building materials were hauled by wagon from Pierce City, Ash Grove, Ft. Scott and Nevada.

Mr. Fuller opened a grocery store, while two more real estate offices were opened by John M. Harlow and Stemmons & Wright.  The Commercial Hotel was started by L.E. Myers.  J.A. Zook started Golden City's first newspaper, the Golden City New.  A new band was Aldrich, Niles & Co.

Then in 1881, the decision was made to incorporate the city.  The Court appointed Trustees J.T. Wyatt, John Garret, W.H. Hicks and G.H. Hall.  Joseph A. Williamson served as Mayor until 1882, when Golden City's first Mayor, T.W. Bates, was elected.  Mayors that followed were Mr. Williamson were T.W. Bates, H.H. Steele, Dr. C.C. Hankins and D.E. Ketchum.

1882 saw a population of about 1200.  There was the Jewell Brothers grocery store, the Thomas Brothers grocery store, Jacob Cornwell's Blacksmith shop.  Three more Doctors,  C.C Hankins, C.W. Hinchman and G.T. Thompson.  Thomas Gallagher buys Golden City News and starts the Golden City Harald.  The Baptist Church was built on Hwy. 160 and is standing today (Dec. 2002).  J.T. Smith started a butcher shop, plus a lime plant and a plant to burn brick.  Golden City's first brick building was built on the corner of Main and Pine by J.M. Harlow. 
1883 saw a 2nd brick building go up on the north side of Main.  Having names like the Green Lantern and the Golden Grill, this building was torn down in 1986.

In the early 1880's, Golden City also had a Cornet Band.  It was comprised of John M. Essex (leader), Jess Stoner, Clarence Ennis, William Fluke, Fred Lowrance, James Phillips, Elmer Thorpe, Bert Matthews, John Phillips, George Essex, Will Essex, Charlse Gilfert and Will Jackson.

In 1885, a new, brick school was built. 

Gus Lueking opened a shoe store in 1886.  In 1896, he moved his business to the current location (Dec. 2002) of where the Golden Eagle Lounge is now located on the north side of Main Street.  A tinner for Home Lumber Co., Andy Bushnell, had a plumbing and tin shop, and Ira L. Wood opened a grocery store

1889 had a photograph shop by C.O. McAhron, and the Hall Opera House was built at the current (Dec. 2002) location of Bill Lowry's Auto, north side of Main St., corner of Mill.

1893 saw another bank open, Golden City Banking Co., which later converted to Citizens National Bank.  In 1905, the First National Bank was oraganized.  In 1928, Citizens National Bank and First National Bank consolidated, and continued with the name First National Bank.

Somewhere around 1895, Dr. J.N. Brooks came to town.  He retired in 1946, and will be remembered as a respected and outstanding citizen to the community.

Albert Hunt started a mill in 1903, and W.H. Campbell put in a telephone system.

The Cornell Brothers had an implement business in 1905, and another paper, the Golden Free Press, began.

By 1907, Golden City was wanting electic lights.  So an electric dynamo and another pully were added to the big steam powered 45 horse engine at Albert Hunt's mill and light plant.  Wiring was strung over the town.  The lights operated from 5:30 P.M. untill 11:00 P.M., until November.  Then it was just a morning run from 5:30 A.M. to 8:00 A.M.  Then, no more until evening.  The reason for this is because the lights and mill could not run together.  There was only one size of pulley for the mill and another for the electric dynamo.  Both were mounted on the same shaft - so electric service was only available after the grinding was done, or at dusk.  Mr. Hunt had the unfortunate experience of losing a hand at the plant, and sold it to Ozark Utilities Co. in 1922.

1910 was the beginning of the original portion (north part) of the Christian Church.  Prior to this, the congregation had been meeting in the Opera House.

The Catholic Church which still stands on Clinton Ave. just across SE of Pugh Funeral Home (Dec. 2002) was built in 1911.

When I was growing up in the 60's and 70's, I recall Woody's Hardware, owned by Vern Woody.   He was apparently in business in 1912, selling buggies and tractors.

The Salow Drug Store was in operation in 1917.

The Frank Wolfe Grocery & Market is in operation in 1921.

A new school was under construction in 1923.

The Produce Exchange comes into being in 1929.  Main St. is paved.

The home of O. Hickman was purchased for Phillips Funeral Home in 1930.  First attempts were being made to get roads going west (hwy. 126) as well as south (hwy. 37) Golden City's population was 828.

The first talking movie that was shown in Golden City was at the Palace Theater, (north side of Main St. where Golden Business Forms now stands) on March 14th, 1931.

1932 - Muddy Creek bridge is built.

Assemblies of God members started meeting in Golden City in 1938, and built the now remodeled church in 1943.

Bill Smith puts in a bowling alley, 1942.

Sever plans were approved in 1954.  On July 14th of that same year, it was 116 degrees.  My father, Chester Horton, was running his business (Horton Welding Service) in the metal building that currently (Dec. 2002) sits just north of the Community Building at the corner of Main and Depot.  I recall him talking about that summer.  He said it was so hot inside the building that he had to step outside to cool off.

The current (Dec. 2002) Grace Baptist Church building was built in 1961.

During the earlier years, there was plenty to worry about.  Tramps were everywhere, and "darkies" were not a welcome sight and sometimes ran out of town.  Typhoid was rampant, and Cholera wiped out entire herds of hogs.  1884 may have been the coldest on record, when the mercury dipped to at least 26 below 0.   On January 16th of 1885, it got down to 15 below.  In November, 1895, Golden City's Militia Platoon drilled every monday night, as war with Spain seemed imminent.

Here's a few late 1800's cattle and grain prices:

1885 hogs at 4.40, cattle at 4.50
1892 hogs at 4.00, cattle at 2.00, wheat was 45 cents, corn- 35 cents
1895 1484 head of cattle sell at Kansas City for 4.85.  Wheat was 35 cents
1896 hogs were at 2.75, cattle 4.15, corn was 15 - 22 cents, wheat, 59 cents.  a wage of 10 cents an hour was considered high.

Here is what land was selling for in 1894 and 96:

Aug. 1894 - 80 acres NW of town sold for $1700.00
Dec. 1894 - 8 acres sell for $600.00
Dec. 1894 -1 and 1/2 miles south of town, 160 acres sell for $5000.00
Dec. 1894 -near the Golden Grove area, 80 acres sell for $800.00
Dec. 1894 - west of town 1 to 2 miles, 14 acres sell for $700.00 and another 8 acres by the same owner sell for $600.00
Dec. 1894 -80 acre farm goes fore $2000.00
Dec. 1894 -160 acres sell for $5000.00
Sept. 1896 - 4 miles east, 160 acres sell for $5600.00

                                          STAY TUNED FOR MORE HISTORY TO COME!Golden City, Missouri, Barton County, yatt, T.W.Bates, John Garret, G.H. Hall, Dr. A.E. Maridick, George Ackason and W.H. Pemberton.

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