by Valerie Verkamp
In 2014, Platte County reaches a milestone.
On Dec. 31, 1838, this land of rolling hills and easy flowing waters of the Platte River officially became known as Platte County.
Through the years, Platte County developed rich roots as more and more families made it their home. This upcoming year will be filled with events commemorating the 175th “birthday” of Platte County.
A birthday celebration open to the public will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 31 at the Platte County Courthouse located at 328 Main Street in Platte City.
“This birthday event kicks off an exciting year of commemorative activities in 2014 that will feature Platte County's history,” said Pat Medill, who spearheads a 175th anniversary committee entirely designated to honor the county's past through a series of events.
Refreshments will be served during the birthday celebration and those in attendance will receive a new 2014 Platte County Parks & Recreation calendar.
Platte County residents unable to attend the kickoff event will have other opportunities throughout the year to join in the celebration.
Other events being planned will “recall the rich, colorful and sometimes dramatic history of Platte County. Included in that history are stories of the settlers who came seeking new opportunities. These men and women built towns like Fancy Bottom, Mudlake, Martinsville, and Lickskillet; towns that have disappeared or been absorbed into communities such as Platte City and Dearborn,” said Medill.
“The history encompasses the events of the Civil War where loyalties were divided, Platte City burned and bushwhackers hid in the Paw Paw trees. And in the 20th century, Bonnie and Clyde left their mark with a shootout with local law enforcement,” she said.
Other festivities will involve the launching of an estimated 175 kayaks from the new boat ramp along the Missouri River at Platte Landing Park, performances by Native Americans, and a Civil War re-enactment.
Planned festivities will also include displays and presentations on the unique history throughout Platte County. Park University will offer an historical display hosted by Carolyn Elwess.
Medill, a lifelong resident of the county, said she is the ideal person to help orchestrate the 175th celebration. Medill attended Brenner Ridge Grade School situated on the river in Riverside and later earned a diploma from the Park Hill High School. One of her passions over the years has been arranging school reunions.
“But the best qualification to chair the 175th (anniversary) is the fact that I love Platte County, I loved it then…I love it now and like true love, I am willing to do whatever it takes for Platte County.”
Medill said she is “blessed to be a true native of Platte County. I grew up with Line Creek water in my veins. I learned to swim in Line Creek at the exact place that the Native American burial mound was discovered. I have seen Platte County change considerably. A beautiful cattle pasture and wheat fields became MCI airport and miles of corn fields became the Barry Road corridor. Sleepy Platte County was shaken awake about 50 years ago and has been on the march ever since.”