Sedalia, now a bustling hub of central Missouri, began as a mere interruption to a vast expanse of prairie grass. George R. Smith purchased 337 acres of treeless prairie in 1856, leading his neighbors to question his sanity. When he persuaded the Pacific Railroad to locate a depot on his land, his image—and that of his Sedville—began to change. Sedville, later Sedalia, soon became the county seat of Pettis County and earned a reputation as the “Queen of the Prairies.” Sedalia chronicles the transformation of a rugged prairie town to the home of the Missouri State Fair and host to the international Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival. Sedalia’s history is illustrated through more than 200 vintage images, showing the people, places, and events that shaped the town.
Author Bio: Rebecca Carr Imhauser is a descendant of one of Pettis County’s first settlers, Thomas R. Wasson, who gave land for the county’s first permanent seat of government. A retired magazine editor, Imhauser is a college English instructor. She has written four books about Sedalia history, as well as numerous articles for national magazines and newspapers.
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