Local News: Monett Historical Museum Opens New Exhibition (11/27/21)
Stephen J. Courdin, mid-back, is pictured in 1885, before becoming mayor in 1888. Other members of his family, including his uncle, David William Courdin, and Stephen’s wife? ? s, Marie Cairus, both born in Italy, are pictured. Contribution photo
Insight into the life of Monett’s first mayor
The Monett Historical Museum has announced the opening of a new exhibition on the beginnings of Monett’s history.
Stephen Courdin: Monett ?? s First Mayor ?? tells the story of the South American immigrant who in 1888 was appointed the city’s first mayor, his teenage adventures and his exploits in the West after leaving southwest Missouri in 1891. The exhibition is sponsored by the Vaudoise Foundation of Monett.
Stephen Courdin arrived in Barry County in 1875, part of a group of 50 Vaudois immigrants from Italy who had settled in the pampas of southern Uruguay. As a young teenager, he left Missouri and traveled alone to Europe, visiting the villages of the Italian Alps that were his parents’ homeland, and crossed the United States by train to California, where he worked as a chauffeur from streetcar and ranch worker. .
He returned to Barry County in 1884. The Barry County Court appointed Courdin the first mayor of the town of Monett ?? Courdin did all of this before he was 26, ??? said Mark McMeley of the Vaud Foundation. ?? Fast and cheap transportation meant he could get to New York or the West by train in a matter of days, or to Europe on a steamboat and back in a matter of weeks. Without a doubt, he also had an adventurous spirit.
Jeanne Ann Camp, president of the Monett Historical Society, said the first mayor’s exhibit is a partnership with the Vaud Foundation, a local organization dedicated to preserving the region’s long history of foreign immigration.
?? The museum has worked closely with the Fondation Vaudoise to develop the space and idea for an exhibition on our first mayor, the first of what we hope will be a series of exhibits on how immigrants have shaped our local history, ?? said the camp. We scraped the excess paint and wallpaper from the walls of the showroom on the second floor, but left them unfinished. The old walls add a colorful backdrop that reminds us of the generations of people who have come and gone since Monett’s founding.
The exhibit features the meeting minutes book, on loan from Monett City Council, from Monett’s original board of directors. Among the board’s first year business included building plank sidewalks and level crossings on Broadway, assessing taxes on local businesses, and whether or not to require licenses. for dogs, with Mayor Courdin breaking the tie in favor of licensing.
The First Mayor exhibition will remain visible until mid-2022. For more information, people can contact the Historical Museum at 235-9030.