Missouri School of Journalism Book on Arrow Rock Wins the Prestigious 2010 Osmund Overby Award

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Columbia, Mo. (March 10, 2010) — A book produced by Missouri School of Journalism students and faculty has won the 2010 Osmund Overby Award given by the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation. The award is given to written works in recognition of their contribution to the documentation and interpretation of Missouri’s architectural history.

Rita Reed, Dr. Osmund Overby, Shane Epping, Maggie Walter and Alex Cooney
Missouri School of Journalism faculty and alumni with Dr. Osmund Overby after the 2010 Preservation Honor Awards at the State Capitol in Jefferson City on March 3. From left: Rita Reed, Dr. Osmund Overby, Shane Epping, Maggie Walter and Alex Cooney. Photo by David Kennedy.

“Arrow Rock, Where the Past Is the Future” was honored on March 3 at the Missouri Capitol rotunda in Jefferson City. State Sen. Bill Stouffer, 21st District and State Representative Joe Aull, 26th District, presented the award to the honorees.

The 223-page book includes nearly 300 photographs that take readers into the homes of citizens of Arrow Rock, a small village about 40 miles northwest of Columbia nestled along the Missouri River. The book is a compelling and unusual collection of stories that explore the architectural essence of the town and personal lives of individuals committed to preserving the built environment, community traditions and one another.

More than 25 student photographers and copy editors contributed to the project edited by three master’s students. Abigail Pheiffer, MA ’08 and Leah Gallo, MA ’08, spearheaded the picture editing and design. Shane Epping, MA ’08, was the text editor and writer. The book, a sequel to a 1981 photojournalism book, was a three-year project directed by faculty editor Rita Reed with contributions from faculty members Maggie Walter, Joy Mayer and David Rees in copyediting, design and picture editing.

Kathy Borgman, executive director of the Friends of Arrow Rock, nominated the book on behalf of the community, noting that the book is “a distinguished work of non-fiction that has captured both the architecture and history of the National Historic Landmark village of Arrow Rock and the culture exemplified by the current residents.”

The Osmund Overby award, established in 2003, is named in honor of Osmund Overby, art history professor emeritus and former head of the historic preservation program at the University of Missouri. He was the organization’s first president in 1976 and served on the Board of Directors from 1976-2003. For more than a quarter of a century, Overby has been a nationally known leader in the historic preservation field.

“The award is particularly special because it came as a complete surprise,” said Rita Reed. She continues, “We were not aware that the 79 citizens of Arrow Rock had even nominated the book for this honor, much less that their book was about to win the Osmund Overby Award.”

Arrow Rock, Where the Past is the Future
Copies of “Arrow Rock, Where the Past is the Future” can be purchased at the Friends of Arrow Rock office by calling 660-837-3231, or online at the www.arrowrockarts.org Web site.

Reed said that young photojournalists can only learn how to tell significant human stories if people open their lives to them so they can see, come to understand and strive to tell others.

“As a teacher I am deeply grateful to the people of Arrow Rock who so graciously welcomed my students into their homes and lives, allowing them to see the struggles as well as hopes, the tears as well as the laughter.”

Some of the proceeds from the sale of the book benefit the School’s photojournalism program. Copies of “Arrow Rock, Where the Past is the Future” can be purchased at the Friends of Arrow Rock office by calling 660-837-3231, or online at the www.arrowrockarts.org website. Soft-cover copies are $30 and hardback copies are $40, discounted from $45 as an introductory offer. Shipping and handling fees are $8 per book.

For more information please contact Rita Reed.

Text of Award Nomination

Submitted by Kathy Borgman, Executive Director, Friends of Arrow Rock

Twenty-one student photojournalists from the University of Missouri School of Journalism photographed the village of Arrow Rock and its residents for two semesters in 2006 and 2007. Faculty advisor Rita Reed supervised the project, and master student editors Abby Pheiffer and Leah Gallo and writer Shane Epping designed the book in 2008. It was published the same year by the Friends of Arrow Rock and the Historic Arrow Rock Council. The result, Arrow Rock: Where the Past is the Future, is a compelling and unusual collection of stories that explore the architectural essence of the town and personal lives of individuals committed to preserving the built environment, community traditions and one another.

One purpose of this documentary project was to show the evolution of a community manifest in its architecture. More than 80 photographs depict the exteriors of 19th and 20th century homes, institutions and businesses, ranging from the 1834 Huston Tavern, the first historic structure restored by the Missouri State Park system in 1923, to newly constructed homes that follow Arrow Rock’s Design Guidelines.

The National Historic Landmark George Caleb Bingham House is representative of the many early 19th century Federal style homes that dotted the village. Greek Revival styles are evidenced in the 1868 Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodge Halls. Victorian architecture is seen in the “remodeled” 1875 John P. Sites House and several Queen Anne homes. Vernacular style homes, the African American Free Will Baptist Church and Black Masonic Lodge Hall document social changes in post-Civil War Arrow Rock.

Unique to the book is 43 “house portraits,” photos of individuals as they pose in front of their homes which range from small one-story wood frame homes to two-story red brick ones. In addition, 40 interior photographs add to the overall immersion in 19th century Missouri architecture as preserved in Arrow Rock and as experienced as one peruses this 223-page book.

This literary work encompasses another goal, presenting the culture of this one-of-a-kind community. The stories of individual people take you inside the daily working of the village and introduce you to the people who call Arrow Rock “home.”

These components have resulted in the creation of a distinguished work of non-fiction that has captured both the architecture and history of the National Historic Landmark village of Arrow Rock and the culture exemplified by the current residents.

I am honored to nominate “Arrow Rock, Where the Past Is the Future” for the Osmund Overby Award.

About Arrow Rock

Arrow Rock is located 14 miles north of I-70 at Exit 98 on Highway 41. In 2006, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Arrow Rock one of its Dozen Distinctive Destinations, and in 2008, First Lady Laura Bush named Arrow Rock a Preserve America community. Find more on the Web at www.arrowrock.org.

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