There are so many little villages all over the state of Missouri that have changed very little over the years. They hold on to the historic buildings and make sure that the past is not forgotten. All of the towns listed here have a population of less than 1,000 residents, and all of them can be found on The National Register of Historic Places. The NRH listings can be for multiple buildings, or in a couple cases the ENTIRE TOWN is listed. These are only a small sampling of all the quaint little villages with strong historic ties.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Rocheport (pop. 239)
Rocheport Community Hall, originally built as a Baptist church in 1861.
Miriam Green Craft Shop was erected in 1904 and restored by Friends of Rocheport in 1968.
The Crump-Price-Haines House is an antebellum structure with Gothic revival windows at gable ends. The ornate building is located on the corner of Third and Lewis Streets.
A tiny little town in wine country originally established in 1825, Rocheport was called one of "America's 10 Coolest Small Towns" by Frommer's Budget Travel Magazine. It has a large number of historic buildings and homes, and the entire town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With antique shops, bed and breakfasts, wineries, art galleries, a museum, and access to the scenic Katy Trail, there is plenty to do and see. Also, don't miss the Rocheport River Walk or the Diana Bend Conservation Area. You can find out more at
2. Van Buren (pop. 819)
Carter County Courthouse
Hidden Log Cabin Museum – 1872
Van Buren is the county seat and the largest town in Carter County. Visit the Big Spring Historic District or the Chubb Hollow Site, both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Near the Current River and Big Spring, there's much to do such as Cave tours at Cave Spring Park & Current River Cavern or zip-lining at Eagle Falls Ranch Zipline Tours. See the elks at Peck Ranch Conservation Area. Shop at The Landing River Store, Ash House Bed and Breakfast/Antique Mall, Crafton Farm & Home, or Jeans & Jewells. Stay at any number of cabins, campgrounds, RV sites and motels. Grab a snack at the Jolly Cone Drive-In or a meal at The Landing & Float Stream Restaurant or Dean's Barbecue & Grill. For more information about Van Buren, visit
3. Arrow Rock (pop. 56)
Sappington Memorial Building
This tiny little village in Saline County has a historic bearing due to its part in westward expansion and the Santa Fe Trail. The entire town has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, and it features several historic sites including the J. Huston Tavern. Established in 1834, and still in business today, it is the oldest operating restaurant west of the Mississippi. Arrow Rock also features the Arrow Rock Lycern Theatre, which is the oldest in Missouri. You can also visit the Old Courthouse or the home of 19th Century artist George Caleb Bingham. For more information, visit
4. Blackwater (pop. 162)
1800s rural one room school house.
Named for the River adjacent to it, Blackwater in Cooper County has for the last decade or so been involved in a community-wide effort to improve and restore the town. They feature the newly remodeled Iron Horse Hotel and Restaurant, the Telephone Museum, a 1890s jail and a restored one-room schoolhouse. They also have performances at The West End Theatre, where proceeds go to community development. There are also antique shops and unique gift shops, and festivals hosted throughout the year.
5. Keytesville (pop. 471)
General Sterling Price Monument
This bronze statue located in Price Park was dedicated to the memory of General Sterling Price by the State of Missouri and the people of Chariton County in 1915. Also in Price Park is a classic old-time bandstand, evoking memories of summer concerts and ice cream socials from times past.
Keytesville First Presbyterian Church
This Classic-Revival style building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, dates from 1853. Its vestibule with 45-foot steeple tower and semi-octagonal gabled extension in the east wall were added in 1900. Although the church no longer houses regular services, it is carefully maintained and opened for viewing during Sterling Price Day the second weekend of each September.
Log Cabin logs donated by Ernest Bentley, Sr.
This hewn log house was constructed from logs salvaged from two early Keytesville residences. The logs came from a gift to the Friends of Keytesville from a houses owned by Ernest Bentley, Jr. and Jack Dameron, some dating back to 1840. The 16 x 16 foot single-pen structure with loft created from these logs includes a lean-to addition and porch. Building practices were kept as authentic as possible.
Historic Keytesville is the county seat of Chariton County, and besides the First Presbyterian Church, there are two other buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places: The Chariton County Jail and Sheriff’s Residence, and the Redding Hill House (1832). Other historic locations and museums include the General Pershing Price Museum, The United Methodist Church (1904), Keytesville Christian Church (1896), General Sterling Price Monument (1915), Keytesville First Baptist Church (1882), and several more. They hold several festivals throughout the year, and accommodations are available in nearby Brunswick and Salisbury, as well as camper hook-ups in Maxwell Taylor Park.
6. Pilot Knob, (pop. 746)
Fort Davidson was the scene of one of the bloodiest and most important battles of the Civil War in Missouri. The Battle of Pilot Knob in September of 1864 resulted in 1200 Confederate soldiers killed, wounded or missing. Alternately, less than 100 defending Union soldiers were killed, wounded or missing.
Today, Fort Davidson State Historic site at Pilot Knob honors those who gave their lives in this important battle. A reenactment of this event is done every third year where thousands of people gather here to observe. In 2007, 30,000 visitors attended. On off years, you can still tour Fort Davidson and the museum that honors these brave soldiers.
Immanuel Luther Church (1861)
Another historic spot in Pilot Knob is the Immanuel Lutheran Church. It is one of the oldest surviving churches in the Arcadia Valley, founded by German immigrant August Gockel in 1861. During the Battle of Pilot Knob the church was occupied and used as a hospital. After the war, a second story was finished in the back of the church and was used as a one room school house until 1936. The small room in the back of the church was sometimes home to a pastor temporarily. One even lived in the small room with SEVEN children and his wife! Over the years, members of the congregation helped found churches in Iron Mountain (now Bismarck), Farmington, and Ironton. The church is on the National Register of Historic Places and still contains much of its original furnishings.
7. Arcadia (pop. 608)
Historic Arcadia Academy (1869)
Arcadia was incorporated in 1879 and is located in Iron County with a population of 608. Of particular historical note, the former Ursuline Academy is now known as the Arcadia College Historic District, and features 8 buildings, all from the mid to late 1800s.
It has been redesigned as a destination tourist attraction and features a bed and breakfast, restaurant, bakery, ice cream parlor, wedding location, a chapel, gymnasium, theater and walking and horse-drawn tours. Visit
for more information.
8. Kimmswick (pop. 157)
Windsor Harbor Road Bridge (1874)
This historic 1874 wrought-iron Pratt through truss over Rock Creek on Windsor Harbor Road was originally located in St. Louis over the Des Peres River. It was relocated to its current location in 1930 and closed to vehicular traffic when bypassed by a new bridge in 1985. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Lucianna Gladney-Ross Restoration Project
By 1970 many of the once grand old buildings in Kimmswick were being torn down or falling down. A couple of great losses were the National Hotel and Woodman Hall. Lucianna Gladney-Ross decided to take matters in her own hands and started this restoration project. Several old homes were renovated and re-purposed into quaint shops. One unique feature of this renovation project can be seen on the block bounded by Second, Elm, Third and Oak Streets. Old log buildings from throughout St. Louis county and the surrounding areas were taken apart and re-assembled in this part of town so that they too might be preserved.
Anheuser Estate, AKA Fredmar Farms
Fredmar Farms is the former home of Mabel-Ruth and Frederick Anheuser. This 95-year-old estate was a gift to Fred and Mabel by Fred’s father, W. Fred Anheuser in the 1940s. Known as the Anheuser Estate, it is located on 23 beautiful acres of a park-like setting. Fred was the great-grandson of Eberhard Anheuser, the founder of E. Anheuser Brewing Company which later became the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company after Eberhard's daughter Lillie married Adolphus Busch. Fred was the last Anheuser to work the brewery, and retired as a Vice-President. Fred passed away in 1984, and Mabel Ruth followed years later in 2000. The grounds were then donated to the City of Kimmswick, along with family and brewery artifacts and other memorabilia.
Many of Kimmswick’s buildings date as far back as 1859 when the town was founded. They have unique shops, restaurants, and bed and breakfasts. You can visit the Mastadon State Historic Site or take a Kimmswick Riverboat Cruise. Find out more at
9. Linneus (pop. 278)
Linn County Courthouse (1913)
This courthouse, built in 1913, was designed by Sanneman & Gould by the contracting firm of Ray & Son. It has undergone some alterations over the years.
(Old) Linn County Jail (1871)
The jail was constructed in 1871 with the brick 1937 WPA addition. It served the community until the mid-1970s and is now listed on the National Record of Historical places.
10. Laclede (pop. 345)
Locust Creek Covered Bridge in Linn County.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1970, the bridge was constructed in 1868.
General John J. Pershing Boyhood Home
General John Joseph "Jack" Pershing lead the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I and attained the rank of General of the Armies. Although he was born on a farm outside of Laclede, he lived in this home from age six to adulthood. The historic site preserves and interprets the boyhood home as well as the one-room Prairie Mound School. He taught at this school for a year before attending West Point Military Academy. The home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.
The General John J. Pershing statue.
The statue is the centerpiece of a small garden outside of the General’s boyhood home.
Have you visited or do you live in any of these places? What are some other terrific small historic villages? Share in the comments below.