Blue Springs Historical Society and Archives

Blue Springs Historical Society

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The Blue Springs Historical Society is a non-profit organization formed in 1976. The Society is concerned with the preservation and enhancement of the artifacts and records of Blue Springs history. The Dillingham-Lewis Museum, at 101 S. 15th Street in Blue Springs, Missouri, is our headquarters. The Museum is open for tours by appointment by calling 816.224.8979.
General membership meetings are held with advance notice to members and the public at the Museum and are comprised of lectures and other programs in addition to the transaction of business. The membership receives The Historical Record: The Blue Springs Historical Society Quarterly News.
The Society is continually attempting to improve and expand facilities, acquire new items for display, and research and provide a source of information for people interested in all phases of Blue Springs history.
The Board of Directors is composed of the elected officers of the Society, the immediate past President, chairpersons of the standing committees, and the Parliamentarian. New committee members are always welcomed for the following standing committees: Archives, Buildings & Grounds, Correspondence, Finance, Historian, Hotel, Membership, Museum, Program, Projects, and Public Relations. We also have a Heritage Garden Committee, who have been planning and planting a period garden on the grounds.
Visit the City of Blue Springs website for access to City Scenes, a video news magazine which includes a Blue Springs History Flashback each month. The February 2006 edition features Jolene Clark speaking about our 100th birthday celebration.
Recent Articles in the Examiner and the Kansas City Star about the Society (viewing these articles will require registration through their websites...but it's free):

American heroes: Display honors World War I veterans
New winter whites: Volunteers give historic hotel a new coat of paint
Society wants young people more involved
Window illuminates memories: Family's gift honors mother
Historical society receives grants
Foundation gives out scholarships and local grants
Couple devoted to preserving past
Our most current restoration project involves the Chicago-Alton Hotel. For more details on this project and to see how you can help, click here.
We have recently sold out of our reprint of "A Pictorial History of Blue Springs" for $35.00 plus $3.00 S & H. The book includes 421 photos and illustrations of Blue Springs history beginning in the late 1800's through 1990's and is a fine quality hardbound edition. If you are interested in putting your name on a list to buy one if and when it is reprinted, please email Karol Witthar. The Society does currently have available copies of the 1976 Heritage Books for $1.00 each.
Check out our Photograph Collection online!
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Special Events

New!Watch here for more exciting events to be listed soon!
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Fundraising Efforts

New!Watch here for more fundraising efforts to be listed soon!
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The Blue Springs Historical Society maintains a collection of historical manuscripts, photos, records and various publications at the Blue Springs City Hall. These are available to the public by appointment.
Contact: Karol Witthar, Archivist
Phone: 816.229.1671
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To join the Blue Springs Historical Society:

1. Print a Membership Application
2. Mail the completed application and your membership dues to:

Blue Springs Historical Society
P.O. Box 762
Blue Springs, MO 64013
ATTN: Membership Chairman
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A Brief History of Blue Springs

The name Blue Springs was first given to springs of water flowing from the side of hills into a branch of the Little Blue River. As early as 1825, the springs attracted campers preparing to cross the plains.
The first permanent settlers made their home near this water supply. Franklin Smith established the first post office in the early 1840s, naming it after the springs. The village remained on this site (approximately where Burrus Old Mill Park is now) until 1878, when it moved near the Chicago & Alton Railroad tracks. The town in its present location was incorporated in 1880.

The Dillingham-Lewis Museum

The Dillingham-Lewis Museum was built in 1906 and is the only structure in Blue Springs constructed of native limestone. The house is named after two families. The original owners were the Morgan Vachel Dillingham family. Mr. Dillingham operated a general store in Blue Springs in the 1880s and was later Vice-President of a local bank. The house was later purchased by Miss Narra Lewis, a world traveler who had seen every President, from Lincoln to Roosevelt. Miss Narra, famous for her parties and for a hatchet-swinging raid on the local saloon, lived here until her death in 1948. The home was purchased by the Blue Springs Historical Society in 1977. It serves as the Society's headquarters and is furnished with period pieces. There are items of historical interest on display and it is open to the public by appointment.
Dillingham-Lewis Home
Dillingham-Lewis Museum
Location: 101 S. 15th Street
Chicago & Alton Hotel
Chicago & Alton Hotel

The Chicago & Alton Hotel

Built in 1878 by J.K. Parr, the Hotel is the oldest business building in Blue Springs. In 1978, the Hotel, which originally served the railroad, was moved from its original site just south of Main by the tracks to its present location just west of the Dillingham-Lewis Museum on Main Street. Restoration work is presently underway by volunteers.
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Local and Genealogy links:

City of Blue Springs, Missouri Home Page
The Examiner (daily newspaper of Eastern Jackson County)
Jackson County Historical Society of Missouri
Jackson County MOGenWeb
Mid-Continent Public Library--Blue Springs North Branch
Mid-Continent Public Library--Blue Springs South Branch
Mid-Continent Public Library--Genealogy Branch

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Copyright 2007 by the Blue Springs Historical Society
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This site was last updated on May 10, 2008.