Nathan and Olive Boone Homestead celebrates renaming

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ASH GROVE, Mo. – Today, August 15, 2020, the Nathan and Olive Boone Homestead State Historic Site finally got to celebrate its new name. Missouri Parks renamed the site the “Nathan and Olive Boone Homestead State Historic Site” in March. It was going to hold a celebratory ceremony in conjunction with women’s history month, but COVID-19 got in the way.

So today, with proper safety protocols, Missouri State Parks, Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Women’s Foundation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“It’s not insignificant at all to change the name of a historic site,” Missouri State Parks division director Mike Sutherland said. “[Nathan’s] name has been with [the site] for quite a while, but because of Olive’s significance, and really to tell the story in the truest way, and to really be able to tell the story of Missouri, we wanted to add Olive. We wanted to add her contribution. She really made the most significant contribution to this area of all, and we wanted to recognize that.”

Olive Boone was Nathan Boone’s wife. She often ran the day-to-day operations of 1200+ acre farm when her husband spent a lot of time away. Olive raised 14 children.

“She really was the driving force behind the development and the running of the farm,” Sutherland said.

Women’s Foundation President and CEO Wendy Doyle says Olive’s contributions were made during a time when women had no legal rights. Doyle says Olive Boone faced challenges involving money, resources, being remote and access to care and food.

“Olive Boone was a changemaker in her own right,” Doyle said. “She really was a tough woman. I think [her life] was extremely tough. Just in itself of trying to care for 14 children is a lot, but adding on taking care of the farm, the house, the animals, the whole homestead. It’s a significant challenge for anyone, let alone a woman with 14 children.”

Now, the historical site will honor Oliver’s sacrifices forever.

“This is the moment in time, especially moving into next week, which is the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment for the right to vote, although that was for white women, it wasn’t for everyone. But, this is the important time in history for us to definitely bring forward what’s happened in the past.”

The Women’s Foundation played a major role in the historical site’s name change.

“We really looked at all of the state parks in the state of Missouri, and recognized that women were sorely underrepresented,” Doyle said.

Doyle says her foundation is passionate about diversity and inclusion – not just women, but all groups represented. She says the Missouri DNR was completely open and supportive of the idea of this name change. She commends DNR commissioner Carol Comer’s leadership.

This is the first name change under the Women’s Foundation’s legacy of women initiative. The initiative focuses on going back in history and bringing back significant accomplishments made by women.

“It’s important to the Women’s Foundation that we preserve our history,” Doyle said. “To bring forward what happened in the past to educate future generations on what they can aspire to be. And, what they see, they can aspire to be.”

She says the fact that this happened in an election year is significant.

“There’s a big role that women can play,” Doyle said. “We clearly see that women are underrepresented at every level of government, at every level of the corporate sector, across the working world. This is just one small step forward.”

This is the second state park the Women’s Foundation has worked on. In 2019, it worked with the Missouri DNR to rename Van Meter State Park to Annie and Abel Van Meter State Park.

“We really see this as a springboard to other opportunities that we can do,” Doyle said.

Doyle says at the end of August, her foundation will present and unveil a new bronze bust in the Missouri Capitol’s Hall of Famous Missourians. The bust will be a woman, but Doyle can’t reveal who it’s going to be just yet.

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