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Excerpt from article in the Kansas City Star

Dearborn, Edgerton, Camden Point adapting to changing times

APRIL 26, 2016

The Civil War isn’t forgotten in Camden Point, where six Confederate soldiers were buried at the Pleasant Grove Cemetery after being killed in a battle in 1864. The cemetery itself dates to 1847.

The Civil War isn’t forgotten in Camden Point, where six Confederate soldiers were buried at the Pleasant Grove Cemetery after being killed in a battle in 1864. The cemetery itself dates to 1847. Joe Ledford jledford@kcstar.com

Camden Point

Camden Point, the town of the three that is closest to Kansas City, was founded by William Kincaid in 1848. The teacher first named the town Camden — but it was soon discovered that the name was already taken in Missouri, so the word “Point” was added.

The Camden Point Mid-Continent Public Library — the town’s “downtown,” says one librarian with a laugh — has books documenting such history.

Incorporated in 1887 with fewer than 177 people, the population was estimated to be 522 in 2014.

Like other communities in Platte County, the early settlers had Southern leanings and were friendly to the Confederate troops.

When the Yankees came through Camden Point from Weston and Platte City in 1864 and found Confederate soldiers picnicking with the residents, a battle ensued. Six rebels were killed and many of the buildings were torched. Those rebel soldiers are buried in Pleasant Grove Cemetery on the outskirts of the town.

According to records compiled by Lynn Cassity of Dearborn, Kincaid wanted the town to be known for its schools, and donated $200 for the establishment of a female academy. The academy was described in the August 1855 issue of the Leavenworth, Kan., Weekly Herald as housed in a “large and elegant” building capable of accommodating 125 boarders.

The academy became co-educational and survived the Civil War and the fire that ravaged the town. It was often subjected to visits by federal troops who frequently bivouacked on the campus.

Three years after the war, Cassity wrote, the school was sold to the Christian Church of Missouri, which turned it into a school for local children and orphans. The building burned in 1889, and the church rebuilt a school for orphans in Fulton (now William Woods University), and withdrew any aid for a school in Camden Point.

“My grandmother in Camden Point was upset that I chose to go to William Woods for two years,” said Lu Durham of Dearborn. “Grandmother said the money went to William Woods and killed the Camden Point school.”

A public school opened in 1920 and graduated its last high school class in 1951 after the unification of the area schools.

Today, I-29 provides an easy commute to Kansas City and St. Joseph.

“We are five minutes from I-29 and 15 from the airport,” said Gloria Boyer, who moved to Camden Point in 1983 when her husband was transferred to Kansas City. The couple found everything they wanted in Camden Point: a small rural community, good schools and “neighbors we can depend on.”

While Camden Point has lost businesses like a grocery store and a car dealership, today is has a greenhouse, a post office, the library and a beauty shop. Boyer has served as an alderwoman and mayor and is Platte County recorder.

Mark and Nancy Wagoner agree with Boyer.

The Wagoners have lived in Camden Point 52 years, and Nancy operates the greenhouse on a seasonal basis.

“We are proud of our little town,” she said. “I knew everyone at one time, but we are a bedroom community now.”

New houses have been constructed, and with the influx of people, amenities have been added to the town.

With a grant from the Plate County Parks Department and help from local residents Camden Point has added a park with a pavilion that is used during the town’s annual Freedom Festival. The event, which includes a parade, is held annually the Saturday before July 4.

The town is improving every year, said Bob Wright, former fire chief of the Camden Point Fire Protection District.

High on his list: a new fire station is almost finished, funded by Mark and Cindy Hill, who won millions in a Powerball jackpot in 2012.

Walt Stubbs, who has been chief of the Camden Point Fire Protection District, says Mark Hill has a good reason for funding the firehouse, which will feature additional space for training, as well as a full-time ambulance.

Firefighters saved the life of Hill’s father.

“Hill has a very strong feeling for Camden Point.”

It’s a feeling shared by many.

Wright is a fourth-generation resident of Camden Point, and although his two sons do not live in the community, he credits growing up in the small town for their success in life.

“There is nothing like knowing all the people who helped you grow up, to have that experience,” he said. “You acquire their values. We get together and help (each other) when needed.”