HARRISON COUNTY, MISSOURI
by: Bob Taggart
County Bicentennial History
transcribed by: Melody Beery
The town of Blue Ridge is located in Adams Township, a section of
the southern part of Harrison County.
The town has had three names.
It was first named Kedron, second Scratch Out, and thirdly it was named
Blue Ridge. The area was known for the Blue Stem grass which grew in
abundance, and it may have gotten its name this way. However, some
say it got its name because of the blue haze which could be seen over the
ridge as you approached from the West in the morning. During the
early days the town square was south of the present Watt's Grocery
Store. There were houses on both sides of North and South Street,
and East and West Main Street. Blue Ridge was a thriving community
with 32 homes occupied in addition to the busy uptown area, which
contained a complete shopping and service center.
There were two
hotels, one of which is still standing and was known as the Culp
Hotel. The Rev Wayne Caulkins and family now reside in the former
hotel. At one time Blue Ridge had three doctors, three grocery
stores, one of which is still here and known as the J.V. Watts Grocery, a
post office, blacksmith shop, jewelry store, two drugstores, livery barn,
carriage shop and many other businesses.
South of the square was
the Blue Ridge School. The school house is still standing on the
Marion Gannon farm two miles south of Blue Ridge, which was moved there in
1954. The school was built in 1889. There were three
churches: Christian Union Church, which is the only church left, a
Methodist and a Nazarene Church. The town was located between
Bethany and Trenton, and was quite a trading center until the early
1900's. At this time much of the trade began to dwindle when a
railroad was built through Gilman City and many business men moved from
Blue Ridge to Gilman City.
The Blue Ridge 4th of July picnic was
held west of town in a grove on the Charlie Platz farm. In
interviewing early residences, they stated that whiskey was made in town,
and to add a special touch to it, they put tobacco in the bottom of the
barrel. Blue Ridge was a lively town on Saturday
People rode horses from miles around to Blue Ridge almost
every evening of the week for visiting, partying and on Wednesday and
Sunday nights filling the churches for evening services. All the way
around the town square was a hitching rack. In the middle of the
squre was a large evergreen tree that was used as a town's Christmas
tree. There was also a flag pole near the tree and the flag was
flown every day.
At present time Blue Ridge has 11 residents with a
population of 17. It is a quiet little town, unincorporated now, but
still has some business and is the crossroads for many farmers and
business men in the area. Blue Ridge is a well known name in the
minds of many people in Harrison, Daviess and Grundy Counties.
A special thank you to Mrs. Lottie Gannon, of Blue Ridge, who moved to the
town in 1897 at the age of 16, for information for this article.
Also to Mr. Rhett Hamaker, of Gilman City, whose family came to the Blue
Ridge area in 1857. Mr. Hamaker was born in 1888 and moved to Blue
Ridge in 1889 at the age of 11 months.
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