History

HISTORY of CALEDONIA, MISSOURI
 Written by Muriel Akers
A view of Main Street, Caledonia, MO

Caledonia is a portion of the Miles Goforth Spanish Land Grant. Goforth sold the Caledonia portion of it to William Buford, who came from Virginia about 1812. Buford resold all of it to Alexander Craighead, a Scotsman, who planned to plat it. Craighead had it surveyed and advertised an auction, stating whoever bought the first lot could name it.  Craighead made it a point to buy the first lot and named the Village after his native Scotland (Caledonia is Latin for Scotland). Lots sold from $1.50 to $5.00 per lot in 1819. Craighead  built his home in the Village in 1816 and it is still standing today. However, this was not the first home in the Village.  Robert Sloan, who came in with the Scottish-Irish Presbyterians in 1808,  built his home where the Presbyterian Church was built later.

The first two businesses were Tom Sloan’s Blacksmith Shop and Fergus Sloan’s Brewery. The story goes that the latter did not last long because as  Jacob Launius, pastor of the Methodist church from 1836-37 wrote in his diary, “I have learned that the brewery did not exist very long, because right in the beginning the Methodists were having a Camp Meeting and everyone got religion but one old drunken ‘Sot'”. The brewery was out of business.
A scene on Main Street in Caledonia from years past.

The first addition to the Village was established by Rev. H. M. Long whose home was the Methodist Parsonage on Mill Street and whose date for pastoring the Methodist Church is likely between 1838-44. The second addition continued on down Mill Street and was owned by Cecil and Betty Campbell, becoming Campbell Addition.

The first school was built in 1804 where the Methodist Cemetery now is. A two-room school was built in Caledonia in the 1830s. The Bellevue Collegiate Institute was built by stockholders in 1864; the building was razed in 1952. In 1936 the Caledonia High School was built, it later served as an Elementary School, and it is still standing. Presbyterians and Methodists each built their first churches outside the Village of Caledonia.  The third Presbyterian Church was built in 1872 though the congregation dates to 1816 and is the oldest organized Presbyterian congregation west of the Mississippi River.  It is still in use.  The second Methodist Church was built in Caledonia and burned in the Great Fire of 1909. The present church was rebuilt on the site, dedicated in 1911, and is still in use.

The Tyro Masonic Lodge, built in 1919, was originally built as a store on the first floor with the Masonic Lodge on the second floor.  Chartered in 1825, it is the oldest continuously operating lodge in Missouri.