It is the perfect stopover in the rolling green hills of Central Missouri. This charming, historic town has been voted one of the top 10 destinations by USA Today. Downtown has brick-lined streets and 68 of it's buildings are listed on the National Historic Register. There is plenty to see and do at this Callaway County spot.
Founded in 1825, it is close to the mid-way point between St. Louis and Kansas City. Next time you are on your way to St. Louis, don't forget to take some time to explore Fulton and see what the town has to offer.
Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society
The Historical Society was established in 1960 and currently is housed in the business district. The museum has displays of prominent people, places, and events in chronological order. Civil War buffs may learn about the story of the “Kingdom” and view a diorama of the Battle of Moore’s Mill.
The campus is the focal point for many important sites.
Under the guidance of Rev. W.W. Robertson, Fulton College was established in 1851. The Presbyterian Synod of Missouri soon adopted it as their official college and renamed it Westminster College. The college operated as a private men’s institution until 1979, when it became co-educational admitting women to boost enrollment.
It is home to the Winston Churchill Museum and Library. To honor the British statesman, Winston Churchill, and in commemoration of his famous “Iron Curtain” speech given on the Westminster campus, President R.L.D. Davidson proposed the idea of transporting and rebuilding one of Sir Christopher Wren’s churches on the Fulton campus. The church had been partially destroyed during the Blitz of 1940-41. On May 7, 1969, after four years of labor, the memorial was dedicated in the presence of many British and American dignitaries.
Berlin Wall and “Breakthrough”
Former President Ronald Reagan came to Westminster College on November 9, 1990, to help dedicate Edwina Sandy's (the granddaughter of Winston Churchill) sculpture “Breakthrough.” She created the sculpture from sections of the infamous Berlin Wall. It depicts a man and woman who have “broken through” the barrier to freedom. The sculpture stands to the west of the Churchill Memorial.
William Woods University
The Orphan School of the Christian Church was established in 1870 to help educate the orphans left behind after the War between the States. Following a fire, the school relocated to Fulton in 1890. With the financial help of Dr. William S. Woods, the struggling college was freed from debt and renamed in his honor in the fall of 1900. Originally a women’s junior college, William Woods changed to a four-year institution in 1962 and became co-educational in 1997. After establishing a Graduate Studies Program, the college changed its classification to university status in 1993.
Henry Bellamann (1882-1945) was an author of seven novels, one of which became a successful Hollywood movie, “Kings Row.” The film was modeled after Fulton, his hometown. An eighth novel was started, but completed by his wife after his death. The suit worn by actor Ronald Reagan in the movie “Kings Row” is housed at the chamber of commerce office.
The Sign Painter
Jesse Howard (1885-1983) was a painter of signs. This was his way of giving a commentary on the current events, especially those that displeased him. He had been making these signs for around 20 years when he was discovered and listed as a “folk artist” in a magazine entitled “Art in America” written in 1968. His farm where he displayed his vast and varied array of art was called Sorehead Hill. The sign painter covered fences and sheds with his signs that, since his death, have been sold and spread across the country. Examples of his work may be seen at the Historical Society’s Museum.
The Fulton Flash
Helen Stephens was a young farm gal from Callaway County, who stunned the crowd in Berlin at the 1936 Olympics by running 100 meters in 11.5 seconds, setting a world’s record that wouldn’t be beaten for 24 years. Helen was a local girl discovered in her senior year of high school and participated in the World Olympics between her first and second year at William Woods College. By her death in 1994, she had set a record for the longest athletic career in the world. Many of Helen’s medals and awards are on display in the sports complex named in her honor on the William Woods University campus.