Missouri has many historical landmarks that are officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Parks. These landmarks preserve Missouri’s history and remind us of important moments from our growth as a state and as a nation. Here are a few that are absolutely not to be missed.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Anheuser Busch Brewery, St. Louis
The Anheuser-Busch Brewery is a brewery complex in St. Louis consisting of 189 structures on 142 acres. The brewery was opened in 1852 by Adolphus Busch, and today free tours provide visitors with a history of the company, the ability to see beer being made and packaged, and (for those over 21) two free glasses of any Anheuser-Busch product after the tour.
Designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1966, the brewery is recognized for as being a huge part of the history of beer brewing and distribution in the U.S.
2. Eads Bridge, St. Louis
The Eads Bridge is a road and railway bridge that crosses the Mississippi River at St. Louis, and connects St. Louis and East St. Louis, Illinois. Though it carries less daily traffic since the Stan Musial bridge opened in 2014, it still sees over 8,000 vehicles a day. For its innovations in design, materials and construction, as well as its importance in large-scale engineering, the bridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
3. Gateway Arch and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis
The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is a 91-acre park located along the Mississippi River in St. Louis, near the starting point of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition. Designated as a National Memorial in 1935, it features the Old Courthouse, the Museum of Westward Expansion, and the iconic Gateway Arch.
4. Graham Cave, Montgomery County
Excavations of the cave by the University of Missouri and the Missouri Archaeological Society between 1949 and 1961 revealed such amazing discoveries that Graham Cave became the first archeological site to be designated a National Historical Landmark.
The Native American archeological site is located near Mineola in the hills above the Loutre River in the 356-acre Graham Cave State Park. The site has discoveries dating back to as early as 10,000 years ago.
5. Liberty Memorial, Kansas City
The Liberty Memorial, a memorial to the men and women who served in World War 1, is located at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City. The memorial was completed and dedicated in 1926 and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2006. In addition, President Barack Obama recently signed legislation that recognized it as a National Memorial in 2014.
6. Missouri Botanical Gardens, St. Louis
Located at 4344 Shaw Boulevard in St. Louis, The Missouri Botanical Garden is a botanical garden that is also known informally as Shaw’s Garden. The informal name is after the man who founded the garden in 1859, philanthropist, Henry Shaw.
It is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the U.S.,and it is not only a National Historic Landmark, but is also registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Its 79 acres feature a Japanese garden, the Climatron, a children’s garden, a pioneer village, an Osage camp, and Henry Shaw’s original 1850 estate home.
7. Harry S. Truman Historical District, Independence
The Harry S. Truman Historic District in Independence contains the residence where U.S. President Harry S. Truman lived for most of his time in Missouri. The district also features the Truman Presidential Library. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, and added as a National Historic Landmark in 1974.
8. Mark Twain Boyhood Home, Hannibal
The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum is located on Hill Street in Hannibal, on the west bank of the Mississippi River. Home to Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) from 1844 to 1853, the author found the inspiration for many of his stories while living here.
It features a total of nine buildings and the legendary whitewashed fence of Tom Sawyer, as well as a gift shop. Open to the public as a museum since 1912, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962.
9. Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Republic
Wilson's Creek National Battlefield preserves the site of the Battle of Wilsons Creek from 1861. It is located at 6424 West Farm Road 182 near Republic. The encounter was the first major American Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River.
Its features include a 5-mile automobile tour loop, the restored 1852 Ray House, and the scene of the battle, designated "Bloody Hill." The site was established as Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Park in 1960, was re-designated a National Battlefield in1970 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
10. Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, St. Louis
Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site commemorates the life, military career and Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant. It is a 9.65-acre National Historic Site located 10 miles southwest of downtown St. Louis in Grantwood Village. Also known as White Haven, the site features five historic structures including the childhood home of Julia Dent Grant, wife of Ulysses S. Grant. At the time Grant was married to his wife in 1848 until the end of the Civil War, White Haven was a plantation worked by slaves.
11. George Washington Carver National Monument, Newton
The George Washington Carver National Monument preserves the boyhood home of George Washington Carver, the Carver Cemetery, and the 1881 Moses Carver House.
Founded by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1943, it was the first national monument that was dedicated to a black American and the first dedicated to a non-President. It is a unit of the National Park Service located about two miles west of Diamond. It’s been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1943.
12. Fort Osage, Sibley
Fort Osage was an early 19th century factory trading post system located in present day Sibley. It was one of three forts created by the U.S. Army in an attempt to establish control over the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase territories. The fort ceased operations in the 1820s and fell into disrepair and ruin. Archeologists rediscovered Fort Osage’s foundations in the 1940’s, and a replica of the fort was rebuilt between 1948 and 1961, to portray Fort Osage as it was in 1812.
Now known as Fort Osage National Historic Landmark, it also features The Fort Osage Education Center, which opened in November 2007. The location also periodically has living history demonstrations about early 19th century military and civilian life. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1961 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
13. Scott Joplin Residence, St. Louis
The Scott Joplin House State Historic Site preserves the home where composer Scott Joplin lived from 1901 to 1903. It is located at 2658 Delmar Boulevard in St. Louis. The house and its surroundings were added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1976.
14. Mutual Musicians Foundation Building, Kansas City
Located at 1823 Highland Avenue in Kansas City, The Mutual Musicians' Foundation Building is a historic building that was a center of the development of "Kansas City Style" jazz that was immortalized in the song "627 Stomp".
Many famous members of the foundation include names like Count Basie, Bennie Moten, Jay McShann, George F. Lee, and singer Julia Lee. The building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1981, and while it houses a museum, it is still used as an active performing venue.
15. Patee House, St. Joseph
The Patee House is a 1858 luxury hotel in St. Joseph that over its long history, has seen many other uses. It was used as Pony Express’ headquarters, the Union Army’s Provost Marshall’s office, a site for war trials, as a college for females, a shirt factory and of course one of the best-known hotels west of the Mississippi River. Famous former residents include Jesse James’ family and Oscar Wilde in the 1880’s.
The building has been operating as a museum of U.S. History since 1963, with an emphasis on transportation. It was designated a National Historic Landmark for its role as the Pony Express headquarters, and also features the Jesse James Home Museum and the eastern terminus of the Pony Express National Historic Trail.
16. Union Station, St. Louis
St. Louis Union Station was once the world’s largest and busiest train station. It was converted into a hotel, shopping center and entertainment complex in the early 1980’s, and it also continues to serve local rail passengers with the MetroLink. It was added to National Register of Historic Places and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.
17. Laura Ingalls Wilder House, Mansfield
The Laura Ingalls Wilder House (also known as Rocky Ridge Farm) in Mansfield was the home of author Laura Ingalls Wilder from 1896 until her death in 1957. The house and the nearby Rock Cottage represents one of the few of her surviving former residences.
Now serving as a museum dedicated to the author and her writings, the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991.
Have you visited any of these landmarks? What was your experience? Was your favorite left off the list? We would love to hear from you!