State Historic Preservation Office

The Harrisonville Courthouse Square Project

Photo of Harrisonville Christian School students working on project.During the 2000-'01 school year the SHPO's Preservation Education Coordinator, Karen Grace worked withCarol Bohl, an eighth-grade teacher at Harrisonville Christian School to develop a multi-level pilot project focused on the Harrisonville Courthouse Square National Register Historic District.  The project turned out so well that staff decided to share it with other teachers and the general public via the SHPO website.

The four-phase project involved a considerable amount of research at the Cass County Courthouse, Harrisonville City Hall, the local library, historical society and the SHPO's Cultural Resource Inventory as well as through oral interviews.  The class was divided into five work groups, one for each side of the square and one for the courthouse.  Each group was assigned to complete a poster (presentation board), a walking tour brochure, an oral history interview and a diorama of one side of the square or the courthouse as it looked in 1918.

Student Project Syllabus
Carol Bohl

Rather than do a traditional research paper, the class will complete several research projects based on the history of the Harrisonville Square.  This will encompass a variety of skills including writing, documentation, interviewing and visual presentations.

Each group of three students will research and document the following projects:


All text appearing on the board will be historically researched and accurate
All information will be neatly arranged and visually attractive
All headlines and labels will be computer generated
All work will be spelled correctly and grammatically correct
Map or diagram of area
Pictures of all the buildings on designated side showing then and now with date
Description of architectural styles of the buildings
Timelines concerning construction, renovations and business over time
Newspaper ads for businesses or news stories about events in the area
Annotated bibliography of all sources consulted

10 points
10 points
10 points
10 points
10 points
25 points
25 points
25 points
25 points
50 points


Design a three-fold brochure of a walk through time for your side that would tell tourists about the history of the square or courthouse and other pertinent or interesting information.

Design is clean and visually appealing
Information is historically accurate
Text is spelled correctly and grammatically correct
Brochure includes scanned pictures
Work is neatly done and meets deadline

20 points
20 points
20 points
20 points
20 points

ORAL HISTORY 50 points

Interview at least one person who worked on the square to record their memories on either audio or video tape.  Prepare questions ahead of time.  Make the contact and set up the date.  Be polite at all times.

SQUARE DIORAMA  Art class project

Working with your team, construct a model of your side of the square as it would have been in 1918.  Try to make it architecturally correct.  Storefronts should have names of businesses gleaned from research and details as found in available pictures.

Where the Harrisonville Students Found Information

Courthouse/City Hall

Tax Assessor - record of ownership of real property and its value

Probate Court - Wills, inheritors, estates

Building Department - record of renovations

Planning Department - Plat maps

Library/Historical Society

City Directories- names and addresses of owners and people who worked at businesses downtown; photos of owner's homes and businesses; advertising for businesses

Newspapers (and clippings)-store openings and closings, ads for merchandise, owner's activities, important cases at courthouse, renovations, obituaries

Sandborn Maps -record of ownership, site plan, building foot print, building materials

Photos -buildings and their owners

Books -histories, biographies, souvenir or vanity publications

Private Collections photos, letters, diaries, artifacts

Oral History

Interviews with owners, workers or their descendants

SHPO Cultural Resource Inventory

National Register of Historic Places - town/neighborhood history, architectural style, architectural description, architect or builders, age, legal description, site plans, biographies of significant persons, photos, maps, floor plans, site plans.

Statewide Survey Files -same as above

County Files -booklets, brochures, letters, unpublished histories, photos, newspaper clippings

Maps -survey, National Register, plat, topographic, Sandborn, bird's-eye views

Research Library county/city/regional/state histories, ethnic histories, architectural histories, builder's handbooks and catalogs, planning, how-to information for homeowners, architectural encyclopedias and dictionaries, preservation periodicals (1968-2001), etc.

Materials List for Harrisonville Project

Presentation Board

1.  posterboard or foamcore
2.  historic (ca 1918) and current photos of each building
3.  computer for labels
4.  plat map
5.  photocopies of newspaper ads or stories or artifacts

Walking Tour Brochure

1.  computer with photo scanner and desktop publishing program

Oral History

1.  recording device either audio or video


1.  white cardboard cubes
2.  scrap cardboard
3.  construction paper
4.  paint and marking pens
5.  brick stencil
6.  glue
7.  mat knife
8.  scissors

Sample Timeline
South Side of Harrisonville Square
by Bonnie Cohee, Drew Powers, Ben King
Harrisonville Christian School

  101 W. Wall 103 W. Wall 101 E. Wall 103 E. Wall
  1886 - 1891 1886 - 1891 1900 - 1901 1900 - 1901


Growth Industries (Dunmire)

Growth Industries (Dunmire)

Anderson and Milholland law office

Anderson and Milholland law office

1991 - 2000

Growth Industries (Dunmire)

Growth Industries (Dunmire)

Anderson and Milholland law office

Anderson and Milholland law office

1981 - 1990

(1983)Printed Products Co. Inc
Top-Apartments/Rev. Gordon W. Wattson-County Chaplain

(1983)Markee Women's Clothing

(1983)Teen Sports

(1983) vacant

1971 - 1980

(1972)Fashion House Fabrics
Top-vacant apartments
Antiques/Weavers Jewelers

(1972)Markee Women's Clothing

(1972)Sears Catalog Store-Les Young
Top-Don F. Whitcraft, lawyer

Grahm's Southside Drug
Top-Don F. Whitcraft, lawyer

1961 - 1970


(1964)Markee Women's Clothing

(1964) Sevy's Shoe Service
(1966; 1968) Sears

(1972) Foster Southside

1951 - 1960

(1951) Russell Market


Southside Drug

1941 - 1950

Russell Grocery

Boman's Studio until 1942

Hugo Nimmans Grocery

Bairds Southside Drug

1931 - 1940

Clements Hardware


Bomans Studio (photo)

Bairds Southside Drug

1921 - 1930

(1923; 1929) Will T. Price Jewelery

(1928) Boman's Studio

Top-W.M. French Dentist, Dr. J.B. Sell


1911 - 1920

Will T. Price Jewelery



A.C. Leavel's Drug Store

1901 - 1910





1891 - 1900

Top-Pool Hall


(1900)J.J. Burke and Company grocery

(1900) Levi Smith's Meat Market
(1898) Top-Hotel

to 1890

T.R. Simpson Dry Good Clothing
Nevin's Saloon


O.B. Smart Grocery

S.E. Brown County Treasurer
J.D. Lisle/Probate Court Room