Vintage Snapshots: Columbia, Missouri, Then And Now

If a person finds a stocked pond, they are often wise to fish it for a while.  Such is the case with the Facebook group Missouri’s Historic Highways.  The photographs are from the Missouri State Archives and deserve to have widespread viewing.

So let’s go to Columbia, Missouri, circa 1965.  Columbia is currently the fourth-largest and fastest growing city in the state with a population of 128,000 in 2018, up from 36,000 in 1960.  These pictures were taken at two different locations; both are on Business Loop 70 at, as near as I can tell, College Avenue (Route 763) and Providence Road, both in the northern part of town.

This picture at Providence Road is fascinating.  The stark contrast between the 1949 Ford and the white 1963 Chevrolet in front of it; the two Volkswagens; the little imported convertible beneath the word “Queen” in the Dairy Queen sign.

The field behind the convertible is now Hickman High School, the location I once found a 1974 Dodge Charger.

This picture is also at Providence Road, just a little further west from the intersection.  Note the Corvair and yet another Volkswagen.  In front of the Volkswagen is not a Dodge or Chrysler, but a DeSoto.  The black car that appears to be jutting into the DeSoto is a Rambler.

There is an Oldsmobile in front of the DeSoto, but what is in front of the Oldsmobile?  It appears to perhaps be another import although I’m not well versed enough to even speculate.

This picture, unlike the prior three, is east of Providence at College.  College still has less traffic.  The automotive findings are skimpy here with a 1957 Chevrolet wagon on the left and what appears to be a 1964 Chrysler trying to turn right at the stop sign.

How do these places look currently?  This is Providence at Bus Loop 70 and I tried to recreate the first picture with the help of Google.  This shot is from June 2018.

Fifty-odd years later, there is still a McDonalds at this location.

This is how Bus Loop 70 and College looks as of June 2018.  The building on the left appears to have survived the half century since the first pictures were taken.

While a lot has changed in Columbia, it appears a nice amount has remained unchanged.