by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
On most Wednesdays you will find me at the Historical Society from 10:00am until 3:00pm. On a good Wednesday, I have a visitor. One Wednesday last spring, seven people came in to look around. That’s a record! About half of the time no one visits.
We have tons of “stuff” we have been collecting at the Historical Society since the early 1990s. Shortly after we moved into this building we received the entire collection of artifacts from the Pink Hill Historical Society, so on the days when no one visits I do lots of sorting which means I do lots of reading. For the next few weeks, I will be sharing some stories about Pink Hill.
With the exception of the old Pink Hill Methodist Church, only farmland and newer homes cover all signs of what was once the thriving town of Pink Hill whose residents awaited the coming of the railroad. The railroad never came but the Civil War did and those two events destroyed the small town.
In the early 1850’s, the Chicago and Alton Railroad surveyed land in Sni-a-Bar township. Blue Springs was the only town until November 21, 1854, when George Love and David Neer filed an Abstract in the office of John A. Sea for an area of ten acres off the west side of the northeast quarter of Section 24, Township 49, Range 30. There they established a town of 40 lots with a Main Street and a Locust Street each 33 feet wide plus two alleys 16 ½ feet wide. The area was one mile south of the old Spring Branch Road, now Truman Road.
The town was built on property belonging to R. G. Pinkard, but did not honor him with the name Pink Hill. The suggestion for the name came from Robert St. Clair, who settled in Jackson County about 1848. Meeting with a group of men, he is credited with saying, “The land is covered with pink roses and pink verbena, it should be called Pink Hill.”
According to Abstract notes, the first of the 40 lots was sold to Rosamah Sanders. Asa Booker purchased some of the lots the following year. The town was placed on the map by the United States Post office department in the same year, 1854. One history stated the Pink Hill Post Office was the second in Jackson county preceded only by Independence. (Other towns have made similar claims.)
The first mail carrier, Charles St. Clair, brought honor to the town when he brought the first load of mail. He met the boat at the Sibley Landing and rode horseback overland to carry home the mail in a red bandanna handkerchief.
Next Week: The citizens, their businesses and their homes.
The Grain Valley Historical Society Museum is located at 506 South Main Street and online at www.grainvalleyhistory.com.
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