Harrisburg Baptist Church | 1936 ice storm
Harrisburg was named for John W. Harris, who inherited the Model Farm on what was Thrall's Prairie, the first permanent settlement in the county. The town was laid out on the survey line of the prospective Louisiana and Missouri River Railroad which was later leased to Chicago and Alton railroad. The line was graded and prepared, but was abandoned for a line farther north. The proposed line can be seen on the 1969 USGS topographic map of Harrisburg.
According to Colonel W. F. Switzler, in 1882, there were a post office, three stores, a confectionery shop, a church, a mill, a blacksmith shop, and the historic school building with the Masonic lodge above. The post office was located in the saddle shop. Reverend Green Carey preached at the Bethlehem Baptist church a few miles south of Harrisburg for fifty years and claimed to have joined more than five hundred couples in marriage.
The first church building in town belonged to the Harrisburg Christian congregation. It was built in 1872 of local stone and donated wood. In 1880, the official record counted sixty seven members. In 1980, the hundred-year-old building was demolished and a new building took its place. The Baptist church is a part of the Southern Baptist Convention. The old church building, built in 1887, is still in use. In 1961, the two congregations were regularly trading Sundays.
Harrisburg is located at the intersection of Route J and State Hwy 124 near the Boone/Howard County Line. Current residents enjoy country living with the convenience of essential community resources and social opportunities through Harrisburg R-VIII schools, several churches, service organizations and locally owned businesses. Additional services can be accessed quickly due to our close proximity to Columbia, Boonville, Fayette, Centralia, and Moberly. We are known for our kinship and spirited but friendly rivalries with other small communities in the county.