Book features city’s past in artistic medium for kids, adults

The first brick building constructed after the Capital City location was decided nearly 200 years ago likely was the Rising Sun Hotel.

It opened in 1825, the year before Jefferson City was named Missouri's Capital City, and at the corner of what today is State and Madison streets.

The construction workers who built the first Capitol, on the site of today’s Governor’s Mansion, probably stayed at the hotel.

And the legislature, which met for the first time in November 1826, may have made their beds there.

With traffic along the river, “the highway of the day,” many guests would have brought news and ideas to the city by staying at this original anchor.

The Rising Sun Hotel is featured in “How Missouri’s Capital City Began.”

This is a project local artist Jim Dyke has been wanting to do for a long time.

“It’s a history book you can color,” Dyke said.

The book is just as much for adults as for children.

Inside are 24 brief stops along the timeline of Jefferson City’s formation.

“Most cities develop and grow,” Dyke said. “This is different because the state defined the place then made it our Capital City.

“It was intentionally made from scratch.”

Another 24 pages are left for the book owners to draw their own pictures of favorite or valued buildings.

“You don’t know what may be torn down next,” Dyke said.

Often the origins of a location may be forgotten. For example, Boonville Road originally was so named simply because it was the way to get to Boonville.

Perhaps those who drove by the distinctive hotel in the early 1950s, before it was razed, did not know its historical significance.

“I think it’s more and more meaningful when you know why it was put there,” Dyke said.

The simplified history begins and ends with President Thomas Jefferson. And several city firsts are in between, including the first governor, first church and first Capitol.

“You can get lost in all the nitty-gritty details; this is a place to get started,” Dyke said. “Then, they may want to know more.”

Accompanying image: Front page of history book

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