Almost Yesterday: The Bunker That Bunker Built

Feb 11, 2020

It seems like Almost Yesterday that the community of Bunker celebrated its centennial history.  Founded by Sylvanus J. Bunker in 1907, the small community paid tribute to its founders and its history with a weekend commemoration in June of 2007.

Under the slogan, “Come Home to Bunker,” there was the traditional opening ceremony, a parade, beauty pageant, band concert, and a book signing for a new history of the town and region.  The book, written by Dean Burns, who was born and raised in Bunker, was a highly sought after item throughout the summer of 2007.  In a community of approximately 400 residents, Dr. Burns sold over 700 copies of his book, The Voices of Bunker, and Extended Communities.

The village of Bunker emerged early in the twentieth century when brothers Samuel and George Culler moved a large sawmill from Mountain View, Missouri to an area of high ground between Reynolds and Dent counties that Sylvanus J. Bunker identified as containing some of the best oak and pine forests in Middle America.

To market the timber, the Missouri Southern Railroad extended a line into the region, lots were surveyed, and by the end of 1907, there were over 250 new homes and a thousand residents in the community, most employed by the Bunker-Culler Lumber Company which was soon producing over 100,000 feet of lumber per day, and hundreds of thousands of railroad ties came from the region each year.  The appetite of American and world consumers for quality lumber sent men, horses and mules to the woods of Dent and Reynolds County each day.