The Chance Guest House in Centralia, Missouri

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The city of Centralia lies along the border of Audrain and Boone Counties, and it was the site of an important battle during the Civil War. In September of 1864, which was during the last year of fighting, more than 20 Union soldiers who were on leave and without arms were snatched from a train by Confederates and killed. A group of Union soldiers that was in pursuit of the Confederates who perpetrated the killing were surprised, and more than 100 were killed. This occurrence is known by historians as the Centralian Massacre. The battle only lasted minutes, but it was representative of the split loyalties that haunted Missouri and the surrounding region during that time. The casualties of the Centralian Massacre were initially buried in Mexico, but were later moved to Jefferson City, where civil war buffs can still visit to remember what happened that day in Missouri.

Those visiting the Centralia area who have more horticultural interests may want to visit the Albert Bishop Chance Guest House. The Chance House is a Queen Anne-style home that has been on the National Register of Historic Places for more than 30 years. Starting in May, the Chance House’s rose garden is blooming with fragrant blossoms, and visitors looking to cool off from the hot Missouri summer can check out the famous rock grotto on the grounds. Inside the Chance House is a history museum that shows many local curiosities, including a room dedicated to the history of the civil war in this region.

Be sure to check local listings for notices about upcoming civil war re-enactments. There are also numerous markers around Centralia that show what happened here during that tumultuous time. In light of modern events that are dividing other nations, it is important to remember that similar discord has divided our own country, and understanding the history of that time will help us learn to heal our own modern differences.