Founded in 1857 as a stop on the North Missouri Railroad, Centralia grew as a trade center for farmers moving onto the Missouri prairies from Kentucky, Tennessee and other eastern states.
These historic memories are stored and exhibited in the Historical Society Museum located in the 1904 former home of pioneer inventor industrialist, A. Bishop Chance. Chance Gardens adjoin the museum with a beautiful half-acre of flowers, shrubs, rocks, water and winding paths. A Rose Garden is located east of the museum. Centralia also hosts the Anchor Festival each summer.