Sedalia celebrated its centennial in 1960 with a number of activities. A parade featuring marching bands and floats showing aspects of Sedalia history cruised down Ohio Avenue. Beauty contests chose Miss and Mrs. Sedalia. Bearded men created a group called “Brothers of the Brush.” High school girls appropriated the commemorative wooden nickels and made them into earrings that dangled from their ears. Information about Sedalia’s past was disseminated in three printed forms.
A book titled “Sedalia: The First One Hundred Years” was written by a committee appointed by the Centennial Committee and published by local printer Hurlbut Printing. The book began by detailing the events in the years before the founding of Sedalia in 1860 and ended with an analysis of the current conditions in Sedalia.
The Sedalia Democrat printed a Centennial edition which combined the standard news of the day with an extensive study of Sedalia’s past and a number of photographs of old Sedalia. Much of the information and many of the photographs were provided by local amateur historian Leslie Hale.
Another book called “Sedalia: One Hundred Years in Pictures” also appeared during the Centennial. This book is often attributed to the Chamber of Commerce, whose commentary about the book on its frontispiece acknowledged the contribution of the book to the study of Sedalia history. However, the Chamber of Commerce was not responsible for the book.
“Sedalia: One Hundred Years in Pictures” was actually written by a Sedalia man, Leslie Hale, who also paid for its printing. The book is a compilation of Hale’s collection of photographs of old Sedalia buildings, trains, streetcars, baseball teams, and important citizens. Hale deserves full credit for his work in preserving Sedalia’s history.
Leslie Hale was a Sedalia native. He was born in 1902 to Harvey Hale and Minnie Lueking Hale. He married Mable “Peggy” Anderson in 1928. The couple had one daughter, Millicent “Mimi” Hale, who now lives in Sedalia.
He served in the National Guard, and during World War II was a company clerk. He rose to the rank of sergeant. Hale worked for Chasnoff’s department store, for Waldman’s clothing store, and for Midwest Auto Store.
Mr. Hale was a man of many talents which he shared with many people throughout the community. He was active in Boy Scouts, serving for many years as a troop leader and as a member of the Boy Scout Council.
When Sedalia sponsored a soapbox derby, a race featuring wooden, gravity-powered cars, Hale volunteered his services as a painter and identified the cars by painting each car with the names of the sponsors and the car’s numbers.
Hale also donated his services as a painter to the Sedalia United Way campaign in 1962
when he purchased lumber, made a tall sign for the courthouse lawn, and painted it with a Minuteman missile that marked the fund’s progress toward its goal.
Hale was a friend of the Sedalia Fire Department and assisted them with a major charity drive. Each year during the 1950s and early 1960s, the Sedalia Fire Department participated in a program that gathered gently used toys, refurbished them, and distributed them to poor children at Christmas time. Hale again volunteered his services as a painter by painting toys in need of a touch-up.
Hale’s work with the fire department was so honored that when he passed away in June 1963, a fire engine led the procession to Crown Hill Cemetery where he was buried.