The Poplar Bluff Museum tell many unknown tales of our community. I want to tell you some of those hidden tales found within the museum walls.
George Mureno was the street commissioner for Poplar Bluff in 1958 and later served as the Butler County commissioner. He finally retired from a career with the North Slope Pipeline. Having passed away in 2003, George will always be remembered as a generous man.
Police Chief Danny Whiteley said, “George’s dedication to Poplar Bluff was second to none. He was truly a great guy. He always wanted to help Poplar Bluff and the charitable organizations he was involved with.” Whiteley added, “He was very opinionated, and if you didn’t want the truth, then you didn’t ask George. In the same breath though, if you called him at 2 a.m. broken down on the side of the road from two hours away, he’d come get you, no questions asked. He was someone you’d want your son to grow up to be.”
George devoted himself to the church and maintained the parish cemetery.
Jay Githens said, “He was always doing something for the community and the Catholic Church.”
In 1999, George won a rifle in a raffle during the Butler County Sesquicentennial Celebration. He was announced as the winner during the Black River Rodeo. The rifle was very unique. It is a special edition Winchester model 1894 Caliber .30-.30 lever action rifle. It was number 5 of a production run of only 25. It has intricate detailing and gold metal work including a gold barrel. The inscription reads “Butler County Est. Feb. 27, 1849” and lists the county’s eight original cities: Rombauer, Fisk, Poplar Bluff, Broseley, Harviell, Qulin, Neelyville and Fagus. The rifle was valued at $2,000.
John Mureno, George’s son, has his father’s same generous spirit. In 2016 John donated the special edition commemorative rifle to the Poplar Bluff Museum.
“Dad was a civic-minded guy” John stated, “He’d be proud that I’m giving it to the museum.”
Jay Githens accepted the rifle in behalf of the museum. The rifle is displayed in a special exhibit in the Butler County Historical Society Room along with the Daily American Republic article written by Chelsae Cordia.
The Museum is handicap accessible and open free of charge Sunday 1-4 p.m. at 1010 Main Street. Tell them Mike sent you.
Mike Shane is a veteran, Poplar Bluff resident and board member for the Poplar Bluff Museum.