10 Oldest Cities In Missouri


We scoured the internet to determine the towns and cities in Missouri that have been around the longest.

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You might think your town is old, but it probably isn’t the oldest in the country.

That is unless you live in St. Augustine, FL. Which looks pretty good for being 454 years old.

That’s older than America for those playing at home.

So that got us thinking, what is the oldest city in Missouri? And how old is that when you put it into perspective of St. Augustine or American Independence in 1776?

Because even if your Missouri city or town is old, it isn’t really all that old in the grand scheme of things. For example, the Pyramids in Egypt were built around 2600 BC, a cool 4100 years before St. Augustine.

And now that we have you thinking about how the time line of your existence is really kind of unimpressive on the timeline of history, let’s drop right into the analysis.

These are the 10 oldest cities and towns in the Show Me State according to their ‘date of foundation’:

  1. Liberty (Photos)
  2. Neosho (Photos)
  3. Kansas City (Photos)
  4. Mexico (Photos)
  5. Fulton (Photos)
  6. Kirkwood (Photos)
  7. Arnold (Photos)
  8. Washington (Photos)
  9. Jackson (Photos)
  10. Overland (Photos)

For being 189 years old, Liberty doesn’t look a day over 40. And the newest city in Missouri? That would be Grandview — a brand spanking 6 years old.

Read on for a look at the oldest places in Missouri or feel free to check out the best places to live in Missouri or the safest.

How We Determined When A City Was Founded In Missouri… Or Is It Settled?

Surprisingly, there’s not a definitive data set that contains the dates of incorporation or settlement for cities in America. Put differently, there’s no official data set from the Census that contains when every place in America was founded.

So what did we do instead?

Use the internet’s version of official government data — Wikipedia of course!

For the majority of cities in Missouri, Wikipedia offers data on some kind of ‘date of foundation’ in the infobox. Unfortunately, because it’s Wikipedia and not a sprawling government bureaucracy, that can take the form of any of the following nomenclature (plus others):

  • Founded
  • Settled
  • Incorporated
  • Approved
  • Chartered

And then even more stuff — for example Atlanta has a ‘Terminus’ date, whatever that is.

If no ‘date of foundation’ was found in the infobox, we looked to the general text in the History section of the city for ‘Founded in XXXX’.

All in all, we were able to collect data on 110 out of 140 in Missouri with over 5,000 people. That’s good for a 78.6% completion rate.

We then ranked them from oldest to newest with Liberty turning out to be the matriarch of Missouri at the ripe old age of 189.

Here’s a look at the top ten and a snippet of their history from Wikipedia.

1. Liberty

Liberty, Missouri

Population: 30,602
Founded: 1829
Age: 189
Liberty was settled in 1822, and shortly later became the county seat of Clay County. The city was named for the American concept of liberty.

2. Neosho

Neosho, Missouri

Source: Public domain

Population: 11,983
Founded: 1847
Age: 171
Starting in the late 1820s, settlers of English, Scottish, German, Welsh, and Scots-Irish ancestry began moving into the area. The first of these settlers was Lunsford Oliver, who arrived from Tennessee in 1829 and located near Shoal Creek, giving his name to Oliver’s Prairie. His nearest neighbors were in Springfield, sixty miles to the east. In 1831 he was joined by Nathaniel Turner, John Smith, Joseph Ross, Campbell Pure, Blake Wilson, Levi Lee, Carmac Ratcliffe, and George McInturf. McInturf built a corn mill, the first mill of any kind in the region. Soon afterward came Mathew H. Ritchie, who founded the town of Newtonia near Oliver’s Prairie, and John W. McCord, who settled near Walbridge Spring with Levie Lee and founded the town Neosho twelve miles (19 km) to the west. In these years the region was called ‘Six Bulls’, a colloquialization of ‘six boils’, referring to the large streams that flowed through the area – Shoal Creek, Center Creek, Indian Creek, Spring River and North Fork.

3. Kansas City

Kansas City, Missouri

Population: 476,974
Founded: 1850
Age: 168
Kansas City, Missouri was officially incorporated as a town on June 1, 1850, and as a city on March 28, 1853. The territory straddling the border between Missouri and Kansas at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers was considered a good place to build settlements.

The Antioch Christian Church, Dr. James Compton House, and Woodneath are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

4. Mexico

Mexico, Missouri

Population: 11,528
Founded: 1855
Age: 163
Mexico was laid out as ‘New Mexico’ in 1836 and was a major stop for settlers heading to the Republic of Texas (thus the name ‘New Mexico’), and it became the county seat under its present name in 1837. The word ‘New’ was dropped out after the Mexican War that saw Texas become a part of the United States.

5. Fulton

Fulton, Missouri

Population: 12,807
Founded: 1859
Age: 159
The first settlement in the county was 1808 at Cote Sans Dessein along the Missouri River. Early leaders considered the territory between Wainwright and Tebbetts for the first Missouri state capital. Callaway County was organized in 1830 and was named after Captain James Callaway, who was killed by Indians. Elizabeth became the first county seat. Many of the villages and towns in the county today represent places where railroad stations existed in early years.

6. Kirkwood

Kirkwood, Missouri

Population: 27,659
Founded: 1865
Age: 153
Plans for a new community close to St. Louis began following the St. Louis Fire (1849) and the 1849 cholera outbreak that killed a tenth of the residents of downtown St. Louis. Kirkwood was the first suburban municipality built outside of the St. Louis City boundaries.

7. Arnold

Arnold, Missouri

Source: Public domain

Population: 21,102
Founded: 1902
Age: 116
The first European settler in Arnold was Jean Baptiste Gamache, who operated a ferry boat across the Meramec River in exchange for 1050 arpents of land granted by the King of Spain. This ferry was on the King’s Trace or El Camino Real, from St. Louis, Missouri, to Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.

8. Washington

Washington, Missouri

Source: Public domain

Population: 13,963
Founded: 1904
Age: 114
Named after George Washington after it came under American control, the town was first settled during the rule of the Spanish Empire. It was originally called St. John Meyer’s Settlement and was the site of the Spanish log fort, San Juan del Misuri (1796–1803).

9. Jackson

Jackson, Missouri

Source: Public domain

Population: 14,690
Founded: 1904
Age: 114
In 1813, Cape Girardeau County succeeded Cape Girardeau District, and the Court of Common Pleas and the Court of General Quarter-Sessions of the Peace in Cape Girardeau were superseded by the Court of Common Pleas, leading to a new seat of justice. The seat of the county and the courts were at first held on the plantation of Thomas Bull about one and one-half mile south of present-day Jackson. Land was then purchased along Hubble Creek for the county seat in 1814.

10. Overland

Overland, Missouri

Population: 15,901
Founded: 1904
Age: 114
The area south of the King’s Road to Saint Charles was first settled in the early 1820s, when travelers westward from St. Louis would stop overnight at what became known as ‘The Overland Park’. Daniel Boone, noted frontiersman, constructed a single room cabin here, near the current location of Lake Sherwood and Wyland Elementary School. A historic marker on Wabaday Avenue shows the exact spot.

Oh How Time Flies For The Oldest Towns And Cities In Missouri

So there you have it, a look at some of the oldest places to live in Missouri. If we missed your city’s ‘date of foundation’, let us know in the comments. Or feel free to take a look at the table of the oldest places in Missouri.

And now, let’s raise our glasses, to the next 100 years of existence for these cities and towns in the Show Me State.

And for those wondering, here are the newest additions to Missouri:

  1. Grandview (Founded in 2012)
  2. O’Fallon (Founded in 2012)
  3. Dardenne Prairie (Founded in 2012)
  • 10 Safest Places In Missouri
  • 10 Worst Places To Live In Missouri
  • 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Missouri
  • Detailed List Of The Oldest Cities In Missouri

    City Rank Age Year Founded
    Liberty 1 189 1829
    Neosho 2 171 1847
    Kansas City 3 168 1850
    Mexico 4 163 1855
    Fulton 5 159 1859
    Kirkwood 6 153 1865
    Arnold 7 116 1902
    Washington 8 114 1904
    Jackson 9 114 1904
    Overland 10 114 1904
    Affton 11 114 1904
    Poplar Bluff 12 114 1904
    Farmington 13 114 1904
    Spanish Lake 14 114 1904
    Brentwood 15 114 1904
    Troy 16 114 1904
    Bonne Terre 17 114 1904
    Bridgeton 18 114 1904
    Smithville 19 114 1904
    Boonville 20 114 1904
    Union 21 114 1904
    Cape Girardeau 22 114 1904
    St. Louis 23 114 1904
    Florissant 24 114 1904
    Raytown 25 114 1904
    Bowling Green 26 114 1904
    Independence 27 114 1904
    Columbia 28 114 1904
    Jefferson City 29 114 1904
    Greenwood 30 113 1905
    Clinton 31 113 1905
    Berkeley 32 113 1905
    Macon 33 113 1905
    Ellisville 34 113 1905
    Shrewsbury 35 113 1905
    Monett 36 113 1905
    Harrisonville 37 113 1905
    Cameron 38 113 1905
    Eureka 39 113 1905
    Kennett 40 113 1905
    Waynesville 41 113 1905
    Bolivar 42 113 1905
    Kearney 43 113 1905
    Murphy 44 113 1905
    Weldon Spring 45 113 1905
    Barnhart 46 113 1905
    Pacific 47 113 1905
    De Soto 48 113 1905
    Sullivan 49 113 1905
    Valley Park 50 113 1905
    Parkville 51 113 1905
    Marshfield 52 113 1905
    Battlefield 53 113 1905
    Park Hills 54 113 1905
    Carl Junction 55 113 1905
    Warrenton 56 113 1905
    Richmond 57 113 1905
    Pleasant Hill 58 113 1905
    Perryville 59 113 1905
    Pevely 60 113 1905
    Nevada 61 113 1905
    Ladue 62 113 1905
    Glendale 63 113 1905
    Dexter 64 113 1905
    Savannah 65 113 1905
    Branson 66 113 1905
    Warrensburg 67 113 1905
    Raymore 68 113 1905
    Nixa 69 113 1905
    Ferguson 70 113 1905
    Sedalia 71 113 1905
    Webster Groves 72 113 1905
    Belton 73 113 1905
    Hazelwood 74 113 1905
    Gladstone 75 113 1905
    Wentzville 76 113 1905
    University City 77 113 1905
    Chesterfield 78 113 1905
    Joplin 79 113 1905
    Blue Springs 80 113 1905
    St. Peters 81 113 1905
    St. Joseph 82 113 1905
    Springfield 83 113 1905
    Webb City 84 113 1905
    Ozark 85 113 1905
    Rolla 86 113 1905
    Kirksville 87 113 1905
    Excelsior Springs 88 113 1905
    Festus 89 113 1905
    Maryville 90 113 1905
    West Plains 91 113 1905
    Odessa 92 113 1905
    St. Ann 93 113 1905
    Marshall 94 113 1905
    Hannibal 95 113 1905
    Moberly 96 113 1905
    Grain Valley 97 113 1905
    Carthage 98 113 1905
    Lebanon 99 113 1905
    Lake St. Louis 100 113 1905

    About Chris Kolmar

    Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

    He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

    If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

    You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

    2 thoughts on “10 Oldest Cities In Missouri

    1. St. Louis was founded in 1764 and incorporated in 1822—both before Liberty was incorporated in 1829. St. Charles settled 1769. Hannibal was platted in 1819. Independence 1827. These are just a few of the many errors in this article. I would suggest simply taking the entire article down.

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