History of the Society

A group of foresighted individuals first met to organize an historical society for Gasconade County on October 2, 1969. The first formal meeting was held on March 21, 1970. The first officers of the group were: President, Dr. Paul Baker; Vice President, Elmer Birk; Secretary, Sophie Rodenberg; and Treasurer, Taft Matthews. The first directors were Ray Gawer, Tom Warden, Dr. J. F. Schmidt, Leroy Gross, James Held, Anna Hesse, Annie Wyss, August Gumper, and Waldo Landwehr. There were 75 charter members.

The early founders of the Society outlined the following functions:

  • Search for and collect materials which may help to establish or illustrate the history of the Gasconade County area;

  • Collect printed materials of an historical nature;

  • Provide for the ownership of real property, its preservation, and accessibility to all who wish to examine or study such properties;

  • Cooperate with county officials to preserve the archives of the Gasconade County area;

  • Create public interest through the dissemination of historical information;

  • Cooperate with the State Historical Society and other statewide preservation groups or agencies to collect and preserve materials of statewide significance.

On December 31, 1970, the Society was officially recognized by the State of Missouri as a general-not-for-profit corporation.

A timeline of the Society’s activities since its inception illustrates the active role that it has taken in preserving the history of Gasconade County: