Friday, July 20, 2007

Chillicothe (MO) Business College

Traveling through Chillicothe, MO...? If so, you can still see several buildings remaining from what once operated as Chillicothe Business College and for a time claimed it was the “largest business college in America.” The institution was founded in 1890 and was initially known as Chillicothe Normal School.

After 1911 the focus shifted to practical business training and the name changed to Chillicothe Business College. Benefitting from excellent marketing and a central location at the intersection of highways US 65 and US 36 with easy access to railroads, enrollment grew to over 3,500 students. CBC was known for assistance with tuition in the form of work-study and “guaranteed jobs" following graduation. At it's height, the campus consisted of more than 100 acres and thirty buildings.

A display on the college can be seen at the Grand River Valley Historical Society Museum, 1401 Forest Drive in Chillicothe, MO.
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  1. I attended CBC together with four boys from Odebolt Iowa in l946-47, just after WWII. I met my future and current wife (June Fulton) at CBC, and proposed to her on the gym building steps.
    Great times!! Great memories!! John Ellis

  2. My parents met at CBC in 1939; my father was from rural Arkansas and my mother from rural Iowa. They married at the First Baptist parsonage in Chillicothe on Valentine's day, 1941, shortly before my father enlisted in the armed services and left to serve in WWII.

    I have heard so many stories about the college, and our family has many beautiful photos of them there as a young couple. My mother and her sister worked in the cafeteria and my mother was on the swim team!

  3. My grandparents met at CBC and married in 1937. My grandmother and her sister from Pascagoula attended from 1933 - ? Does anyone have a yearbook from the time they were there. I have some old photos of them and friends posing around the campus.

  4. To anonymous,
    What a coincidence. My parents met at CBC and married in 1938. My father was Harry Harper from Bogard MO. He played on the basketball team. My mother was Hazel Shaw from Crossett Arkansas. She attended as a student in 1934 and then from 1936-1938 taught Business English, Business Spelling and Shorthand. She also was Sponsor of the Pep Club which meant she had to plan the half time "show" I know they must have known each other. Wish we knew. I did have the yearbooks, but since got rid of them except the pages my parents were on. I notice there is a 1941 book for sale on ebay, but that one wouldn't help us. If I know your parents names I might recognize them from my parents references or photos. Mom always spoke so fondly of her experiences as a student and teacher there and enjoyed all the activities that the school had. Nancy Hewitt

  5. I also received an e-mail from the Livingston County Library indicating they have copies of some CBC yearbooks in their archives. They can be contacted at: 450 Locust Street, Chillicothe, MO 64601; Phone: 660.646.0547; or Email:

  6. My dad, Lloyd Courtney, went to CBC around '39-'41. His diploma is dated 7/14/1941. How he found out about it from the farmland outside the tiny town of Russellville, TN I'll never know- I never asked him before he died in 2006, but I would speculate that he may have seen an ad in the Knoxville Journal.

    My wife and I just had his diploma mounted with glass on either side because my dad had signatures from his classmates on the back from all over the US. I was surprised at the draw that CBC had. His yearbooks are also in surprisingly good shape.

    I wish that I had thought to look up CBC on-line while Dad was still alive. I believe he would have enjoyed seeing the articles about it and the old postcards depicting the campus.

    Ron Courtney

  7. I have a picture of my father, George F. Allan, and his class of about 60 men in uniform on the steps of Headquarters Training Detachment Army Air Forces Technical Training Command Chillicothe Business College, 1200 Monroe Street. Date about Jan - Feb. 1943. If anyone was in the class and is interested let me know.

    Ed Allan