Missouri: Other Historic Sites Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Missouri lies almost in the center of the forty-eight contiguous states. It is the southernmost midwestern state. Its eastern boundary is the Mississippi River, its western boundary the Missouri River. It is bordered by eight states. West of Missouri are Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. To its east are Illinois and Kentucky. Iowa borders it on the north, and Arkansas and Tennessee are on the south. Missouri is about three hundred miles from east to west and about 280 miles from north to south.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery

Location: St. Louis, St. Louis County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: Representative of the influence of German immigrants on the beer-brewing industry in America, this company, begun in 1852 by Eberhard Anheuser who in 1865 was joined by his son-in-law, Adolphus Busch, pioneered the use of new methods of production and distribution, including the invention of the refrigerated railroad car. These buildings, dating from the last quarter of the nineteenth century, are of brick, ornamented on the exterior with gargoyles and other figures.

Arrow Rock

Location: Arrow Rock, Saline County

Relevant issues: Western expansion

Statement of significance: The Missouri River crossing at Arrow Rock, noted by French cartographers (1723) and by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (1804), figured prominently in the very early trail-breaking expeditions that opened the West. In 1817, a permanent ferry was established at what was to become the starting point for the traders from Old Franklin and Boon’s Lick who operated on the Santa Fe Trail.

Bingham House

Location: Arrow Rock, Saline County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture

Statement of significance: From 1837 to 1845, this was the residence of George Caleb Bingham (1811-1879), American portrait and landscape painter. Bingham preserved with realism human characteristic scenes of old-time Missouri life. It was during his years at Arrow Rock that he began his sketches of the Missouri River and frontier life around him that developed into his famous “genre” paintings.

Carrington Osage Village Sites

Location: Horton vicinity, Vernon County

Relevant issues: American Indian history

Statement of significance: Occupied from about 1775 to 1825, this was the last dwelling place of the Big Osage Indians in southwest Missouri, prior to their removal to a reservation in Kansas. The site was visited in 1806 by Zebulon Pike. Because of the large number of trade goods found here, the site illustrates the rapid acculturation of the Big Osage.

Clark House

Location: Bowling Green, Pike County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: From 1899 until his death, this was the residence of James Beauchamp Clark (1850-1921), who served as Speaker of the House of Representatives (1911-1919). “Champ” Clark played a major role in the campaign to replace House Speaker Joseph G. Cannon and was Woodrow Wilson’s leading competitor for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1912.

Erlanger House

Location: St. Louis, St. Louis County

Relevant issues: Health and medicine

Statement of significance: From 1917 until his death, this was the home of Joseph Erlanger (1876-1965), graduate of The Johns Hopkins Medical School and one of the leading American physiologists of the first quarter of the twentieth century. He shared the 1944 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for his discovery of the electrical nature of the human nervous system.

Fort Osage

Location: Sibley, Jackson County

Relevant issues: American Indian history, business and industry

Statement of significance: Established in 1808 by General William Clark (1770-1838) for the protection and promotion of trade with the Osage Indians, Fort Osage was one of the most successful of twenty-eight trading houses operated from 1795 to 1822 under the U.S. government’s factory system. The fort served as the point from which distances were measured by the Federal Survey of 1825.

Goldenrod

Location: St. Louis, St. Louis County

Relevant issues: Cultural history, naval history

Statement of significance: One of two remaining examples of the modern era of showboats that ended in the 1920’s, Goldenrod (1910) is the largest and most elaborately decorated of the showboats. Originally seating fourteen hundred, it provided entertainment in the form of minstrel shows, vaudeville, or serious drama. Today, it continues in its role as a showboat.

Graham Cave

Location: Mineola, Montgomery County

Relevant issues: American Indian history

Statement of significance: At the time of the 1949 excavations of the site, remains found here, dating to 8000 b.c.e., were among the earliest known for the Archaic Period. The remains from Early and Middle Archaic times give the site its importance and illustrate a merging of Eastern and Plains influence in Missouri.

Joplin Residence

Location: St. Louis, St. Louis County

Relevant issues: African American history, cultural history

Statement of significance: From 1900 to 1903, this was the residence of Scott Joplin (1868-1917), one of America’s significant composers. His work with the musical genre later known as ragtime provided important foundations for modern American music, combining elements of Midwestern folk and African American melodic rhythmic traditions within the structural contexts of Western European musical forms.

Laura Ingalls Wilder House

Location: Mansfield, Wright County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: From 1896 to 1957, this was the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867-1957), famous author of the Little House series. These books, considered international classics by specialists in children’s literature, tell of Wilder’s life on the frontier as her family homesteaded in Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, and South Dakota and illustrate the struggles and hardships as well as the joys of pioneer life encountered by Laura as a young girl between the ages of five and eighteen (1872-1885). Wilder began writing at the age of sixty-five; her books have been translated into twenty-six languages.

Missouri Botanical Garden

Location: St. Louis, St. Louis County

Relevant issues: Cultural history, science and technology

Statement of significance: Established in 1859, this is the oldest functioning botanical garden in the country. Its founder, Henry Shaw (1800-1889), intended the seventy-five-acre garden to serve two functions: to provide the public with the ornamental delights of plants as well as educating the average citizen in basic botany and horticulture; and to serve the pure or basic science objective of conducting botanical research according to the highest standards of the discipline.

Pershing Boyhood Home

Location: Laclede, Linn County

Relevant issues: Military history, World War I

Statement of significance: From 1866 to 1877, this was the home of John Joseph Pershing (1860-1948), career Army officer. In 1917, as commander of the American Expeditionary Force sent to Europe, he exercised the greatest authority of any American general since Ulysses S. Grant and organized the largest army in American history to that time; his forces were an important factor in ending the war there. In 1919, Congress made Pershing General of the Armies, the first American to achieve that rank. Later, as Chief of Staff, he laid the groundwork for the reorganization and modernization of the Army which would prepare it for World War II.

Sainte Genevieve Historic District

Location: Sainte Genevieve, Sainte Genevieve County

Relevant issues: European settlement

Statement of significance: An old French river town, Sainte Genevieve has retained much of the atmosphere of its missionary fur trading, mining, and military eras.

Shelley House

Location: St. Louis, St. Louis County

Relevant issues: African American history, legal history

Statement of significance: Half of a typical St. Louis two-family flat built in 1906, the Shelley House is important in African American history and in law. It served as the home of the plaintiffs in the landmark case Shelley v. Kraemer (1948), in which the United States Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional the enforcement of racial restrictive covenants in housing. Extending beyond racial distinctions, the Shelley decision is of importance to all Americans of ethnic and minority heritage.

Tower Grove Park

Location: St. Louis, St. Louis County

Relevant issues: Cultural history

Statement of significance: Officially opened to the public in 1872, Tower Grove has been characterized as the largest and best preserved nineteenth century Gardenesque-style city park in the United States. This formal landscape architecture style features winding paths, symmetrical features, intense planting, and the use of architecturally elaborate gates, pavilions, and houses; it differs from the much more numerous Picturesque landscapes of Frederick Law Olmstead and others. The 285-acre tract in the south central part of the city, along the adjacent Missouri Botanical Gardens, was a gift to the city of St. Louis by merchant philanthropist Henry Shaw (1800-1889), who was largely responsible for its design.

Truman Farm Home

Location: Grandview, Jackson County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: Working here from 1906 to 1917, future president Harry S Truman (1884-1972) developed abilities that served him throughout his career, such as the knowledge of farming that shaped his federal farm programs and enhanced his appeal to farmers in the close-fought election of 1948.

Truman Historic District

Location: Independence, Jackson County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: From 1919 until his death, this area was associated with Harry S Truman, thirty-third president of the United States. The district centers around the residence of former president Truman and forms a corridor along North Delaware Street linking the house with the Truman Library, which adjoins the district on the north.

Utz Site

Location: Marshall, Saline County

Relevant issues: American Indian history

Statement of significance: Located on bluffs overlooking the Missouri River, this site was occupied from c. 1400 c.e. to the late 1700’s. Probably the principal village area occupied by the Missouri Indians at the time of their first contact with Europeans, Utz is noted by French explorers, beginning with Père Jacques Marquette, whose 1673 map placed “Messourit” Indians here.

Washington University Hilltop Campus Historic District

Location: St. Louis, St. Louis County

Relevant issues: Cultural history, sports

Statement of significance: The district is associated with the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in 1904 and the third in the modern series of Olympic Games held in conjunction with the exposition. The exposition was the largest in area and scope of world’s fairs up to that date. The early buildings here, although not specifically designed as exposition structures, are the largest extant group from the heyday of world’s fairs.

Watkins Mill

Location: Excelsior, Clay County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: Built in 1859-1860 as the central feature of a self-sufficient community on Missouri’s western frontier, Watkins Mill is probably the best preserved example of a mid-nineteenth century woolen mill. Not only the building but also the rare machinery and the voluminous business records have been preserved.

Westminster College Gymnasium

Location: Fulton, Callaway County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: On March 5, 1946, at the gymnasium of this small liberal arts college, British statesman Winston S. Churchill (1874-1965) delivered his now-famous speech “Sinews of Peace,” in which he gave his analysis of the postwar world. He spoke of the destruction caused by war and pleaded for a strong United Nations based on a firm Anglo-American alliance; he cautioned against nuclear proliferation and the threat of Soviet expansion. “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic,” he declared, “an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.”

White Haven

Location: Grantwood Village, St. Louis County

Relevant issues: Political history

Statement of significance: Significant because of its long and close association with Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), White Haven was the home of his wife, Julia Dent Grant. The Grants met and courted here, they lived here for a short period in the 1850’s, and it was to here that Grant originally planned to retire, before the political scandals of his administration and financial difficulties made that impractical.

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