Upcoming in

Franklin Island – One Family’s Heritage Along the River

Presentation by Paul Davis, son and grandson of the founders of Davisdale Farms.
Paul Davis will share stories on the fifty-year history of treasured public lands prior to their acquisition by MDC.

This is a view of Franklin Island on April 8, 1947, at flood stage (22.5 feet). This view is looking west (upstream). The Missouri River is barely visible on the left of the photo. The prominent stream is the chute that separated the island from the Howard County mainland.

Time and Place

Tuesday, January 23, 2024
7:00 pm

This Month's Location - Shakespeare's South
View on map

Presentation by Paul Davis, son and grandson of the founders of Davisdale Farms

NEW DATE – Tuesday, January 23 in Columbia

*please note the location change this month to Shakespeare’s South – The Bistro will be closed. See below for directions.

** This presentation has been rescheduled to Jan. 23 due to winter storm forecast

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2024

If you plan to purchase pizza and beverages, consider arriving before 7 p.m. to receive your order before the presentation begins.

Hosted by Missouri River Relief

The Missouri River Commission maps of 1894 show a very different riverscape than our river today. This map portion shows Boonville, Franklin Island and a very different course of Bonne Femme Creek. This map was created before the Davis family moved to the area. (Click map to view a zoomable version).

The Davis family has deep roots in Howard County, MO, and along the banks of the Missouri River. Today’s Franklin Island and Davisdale Conservation Areas, in the floodplain and river hills across the river from Boonville, were farmed by three generations of the Davis family before being acquired by the Missouri Department of Conservation 45 years ago. This history stretches back to the days when Franklin Island was still an island, before the river was channelized by the Corps of Engineers and before today’s strong levees protected much of the rich Howard County floodplain.

Paul Davis, son and grandson of the founders of Davisdale Farms, will share stories on the fifty-year history of these treasured public lands prior to their acquisition by MDC. He will also describe the impact of the “Design for Conservation”, MDC’s land acquisition and management program made possible by a Missouri 1/8 cent sales tax.

Register Here

Davis will also talk about the history of Interstate Marine Terminals, Inc. (IMT), the barge unloading facility located on the north bank of the Missouri River, just downstream from the Missouri River Bridge at Boonville, Missouri. IMT was also owned and operated  by the Davis family for over thirty-five years. Davis successfully rebuilt the facility following the “Great Missouri River Flood of 1993”.

Paul retired in 2016 after eight years as Cooper County Eastern District Commissioner. For the past seven years Paul has served as a volunteer campground host at Bennett Springs, Montauk and Table Rock State Parks, where he enjoys trout fishing on his days off. Paul and his wife Debby spend the summer months on the road in their camper, exploring the western US and visiting their children, Jennifer and Andrew in the Seattle, WA area.







  • 3911 Peachtree Dr. Columbia, MO, 65203
  • From I-70, take exit 126 South on Providence Rd.
  • Head south on Providence Rd. 4.7 miles to Grindstone Pkwy/Nifong Blvd.
  • Head west (left) on Nifong, then take a left on Peachtree Dr. Shakespeare’s South will be on your right.

Resources & Links

Dig deeper for more info on this topic:

The Big Muddy Speaker Series in Rocheport

is hosted by these wonderful partners.

Click here for a list of upcoming presentations»

Special thanks to Les Bourgeois Vineyards for giving us the opportunity to use their beautiful space overlooking the Missouri River. All speakers are presenting for free! Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with us!

The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place in St. Charles.

The views and opinions expressed by our presenters do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of Missouri River Relief, the Big Muddy Speaker Series or any of the partners that support this public forum. The Big Muddy Speaker Series believes that hearing diverse perspectives is a crucial building block for an informed public.