A local historian is working to preserve a little-known 200 year-old historical site in Boone County that played a big role in U.S. westward expansion in the early 19th century.
David Sapp is working with Boone County to preserve a 0.6 mile stretch of the Booneâ??s Lick Trail, also known as Boonslick Road.
When the region was opened to settlers around 1816, Boonslick Road was the primary conduit for thousands of settlers who poured into the region. Missouri achieved statehood on August 10, 1821, which makes the road older than the state itself.
The section of trail located near West Graham Road north of Highway 40. Even though it only represents less than one percent of the original trail, Sapp said it was never modified or paved over, making it a rare window into the past.
â??Itâ??s a real rare piece,â?? Sapp said. â??Iâ??ve had some national experts say in all their yearsâ?¦ going beyond my own experience, that this is the best preserved section of a trail like this that theyâ??ve seen.â??
Sapp said much of the trail was rerouted through Columbia in the 1820s, after the city was founded. The original portion of the trail remained in use as a county road until the 1880s.
Today, the stretch of Boonslick Road is overgrown. To the casual observer, it would appear as part of a tree line to the fields nearby. â??Private propertyâ?? signs dot the area. Sapp says most residents have no idea that a piece of American history sits nearby.
â??This is the only one that I know of in the entire state of Missouri that is owned, in this case, by the countyâ?¦ where we have a chance of doing something about it,â?? Sapp said.
The small stretch of Boonslick Road was donated by two local families to Boone County around the year 2000.
The trail is named for a salt lick in Howard County used by the family of Daniel Boone to manufacture salt. The route is the forerunner to U.S. Highway 40 as well as Interstate 70.