Our Historic Community ( continued )

The advent of the railroad decreased Glasgow's strategic value as a stable steamboat port. However, the same qualities of location and commercial stability made it the ideal site for the world's first steel bridge in 1879.

The Civil War left an unmistakable impact on Glasgow. The population was about evenly split Confederate and Union and the town became a hot bed of intrigue and violence. Early in the war, Glasgow was a Confederate recruitment and training area. This caused the Union to send a force to run off the recruitment effort and occupy the town for the duration of the war. However, the Confederates returned on October 15, 1864 with artillery and approximately 2900 troops after being tipped off about a large munitions cache stored in the City Hall. A pitched battle lasted half a day and destroyed a large portion of the downtown and surrounding homes.

Even though the battle was over, it was hardly the end, as Bloody Bill Anderson and his gang of killers rolled into town a few days after the battle of Glasgow. With both the Union and Confederate troops gone, the so-called Confederate Guerillas were unopposed as they ransacked the community and terrorized its citizens.

The end of slavery had a far reaching impact on Glasgow's economy, which was based on labor-intensive agricultural products. In the decades following the war, there was really no viable employment alternative for freed slaves, except to return to the remaining farms and plantations. In time, the agricultural basis changed to crops that could be handled mechanically. The last of the large-scale, labor-intensive crops (mainly vegetables ) ceased when the Glasgow cannery closed in the 1930's. Tobacco is still raised on small family plots. Hemp now grows wild from its original introduction and is mostly harvested by law enforcement agencies and burned at nearby Franklin Island.

The town hit a critical period in the 1950s. Widespread ownership of cars threatened Glasgow's commercial survival as the center of the tri-county region ( Howard, Saline, Chariton ). The agricultural basis was almost completely mechanized. Farm wages could not compete with factory wages in larger communities; people were leaving. Undaunted, an effort was spearheaded by Robert Monning and other determined Glasgowans to industrialize. Today, Glasgow's per capita industrial might is unmatched in the region. Even in poor economic times, unemployment rarely exceeds 3%.

As Glasgow enters the second millennium, its character has been further refined with the formation of the Glasgow Historical Society, the city-sponsored Arts Council, enhanced operation of the library and museum, and a brand new school auditorium. Residents of the community have come to realize they occupy a historical treasure-trove with a future as sure as the Missouri River rolling by its shores. Welcome to our home.