Saint Joseph, Missouri

Saint Joseph, Missouri
City of St. Joseph, Missouri
Downtown St. Joseph in 2006
Nickname(s): St. Joe
Location in the state of Missouri
U.S. Census Map
Country United States
State Missouri
County Buchanan
 – Mayor Bill Faulkner
 – Total 44.8 sq mi (116 km2)
 – Land 43.5 sq mi (112.7 km2)
 – Water 0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)
Population (2010)
 – Total 76,780
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 – Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)

Saint Joseph (informally St. Joe) is the second largest city in northwest Missouri, only second to Kansas City in size, serving as the county seat for Buchanan County. As of the 2010 census, Saint Joseph had a total population of 76,780, making it the eighth largest city in the state.[1] The St. Joseph Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Buchanan, Andrew, and DeKalb counties in Missouri and Doniphan County, Kansas, had an estimated population of 126,359 in 2008. The city is perhaps best known as the starting point of the Pony Express. Saint Joseph is also home to Missouri Western State University.



The intersection of Francis and North 4th Streets in downtown St. Joseph

Saint Joseph was founded on the Missouri River by Joseph Robidoux, a local fur trader, and officially incorporated in 1843.[2] In its early days, it was a bustling outpost and rough frontier town, serving as a last supply point and jumping-off point on the Missouri River toward the "Wild West". It was the westernmost point in the United States accessible by rail until after the American Civil War.

The main east-west downtown streets were named for Robidoux's eight children: Faraon, Jules, Francis, Felix, Edmond, Charles, Sylvanie, and Messanie. The street between Sylvanie and Messanie was named for his second wife, Angelique.

Between April 3, 1860, and late October 1861, Saint Joseph was one of the two endpoints of the Pony Express, which operated for a short period over the land then inaccessible by rail, to provide fast mail service. Today the Pony Express Museum host visitors in the old stables.

In 1882, on April 3, the outlaw Jesse James was killed at his home, originally located at 1318 Lafayette, now sited next to The Patee House. In the post-Civil War years, when the economy was down, the hotel had served for a time as the home of the Patee Female College, followed by the St. Joseph Female College up to 1880.[3] James was living under the alias of Mr. Howard. An excerpt from a popular poem of the time is: "...that dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard has laid poor Jesse in his grave."

The Missouri River in St. Joseph

The Heaton-Bowman-Smith Funeral Home maintains a small museum about Jesse James. Their predecessors conducted the funeral. The museum is open to the public. His home, is now known as Jesse James Home Museum. It has been relocated at least three times, and features the bullet hole from that fateful shot. Saint Joseph is identified by the slogan, "Where the Pony Express started and Jesse James ended."

Among properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places are the Patee House, a former hotel is now maintained as a museum of transportation and the Missouri Theatre, an ornate movie palace.

Saint Joseph's population peaked in 1900, with a census population of 102,979. (This population figure is questionable, as civic leaders tried to inflate the numbers for that census.[4]) At the time, it was the home to one of the largest wholesale companies in the Midwest, the Nave & McCord Mercantile Company, as well as the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad, and the C.D. Smith & Company, which would become C.D. Smith Healthcare.


In 1997, Saint Joseph was named an "All-America City" by the National Civic League.[5] Saint Joseph was voted the top true western town of 2007 by the True West Magazine, in the January/February 2008 issue.


Downtown St. Joseph in 2006

Saint Joseph is located at 39°45′29″N 94°50′12″W / 39.75806°N 94.83667°W / 39.75806; -94.83667 (39.757944, -94.836541)[6], on the Missouri/Kansas border in northwestern Missouri. The nearest major metropolitan area to Saint Joseph is the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, which begins approximately 30 miles (48 km) to the south. The nearest major airport is Kansas City International Airport, which is approximately 35 miles (56 km) to the south. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 44.5 square miles (115.3 km²), of which, 43.8 square miles (113.5 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.7 km²) of it (1.48%) is water.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 8,932
1870 19,565 119.0%
1880 32,431 65.8%
1890 52,324 61.3%
1900 102,979 96.8%
1910 77,403 −24.8%
1920 77,939 0.7%
1930 80,935 3.8%
1940 75,711 −6.5%
1950 78,588 3.8%
1960 79,035 0.6%
1970 72,748 −8.0%
1980 76,691 5.4%
1990 71,852 −6.3%
2000 73,990 3.0%
2010 76,780 3.8%

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 73,990 people, 29,026 households, and 18,460 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,687.7 people per square mile (651.6/km²). There were 31,752 housing units at an average density of 724.2 per square mile (279.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.88% White, 5.03% African American, 0.46% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.69% from other races, and 1.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.61% of the population.

There were 29,026 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4% were single-family households. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.1% under the age of 18, 11.6% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,663, and the median income for a family was $40,995. Males had a median income of $31,300 versus $21,592 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,445. About 9.1% of families and 13.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.5% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.


TransitAmerica Services, which provides conductors for various train systems nationwide, is based in the city.[8][9]


Saint Joseph is home to several retail areas, many of which are grouped along Belt Highway on the city's east side. East Hills Mall is located at North Belt Highway and Frederick Boulevard. The mall opened in 1965, was expanded in 1989, and was renovated in 2001 with a far more extensive renovation in 2008 and 2009. Developed in 2005, the Shoppes at North Village is concentrated along North Belt Highway between approximately Cook and County Line roads. This serves as a regional shopping destination. Other shopping districts include Belt Center, Hy-Vee Shopping Center, Hillcrest Plaza, East Ridge Village, North Village Shopping Center, and Woodlawn Shopping Center.


The St. Joseph School District operates 3 public high schools, 4 public middle schools and 16 public elementary schools in St. Joseph. There are three private grade schools, a private high school and a private K-12 Christian school. In addition, there is an active home education community that serves the city and surrounding areas. In higher education, Saint Joseph is the home of a regional public university as well as a public university outreach center, a public technical school and a private technical school.

Public elementary schools

  • Coleman Elementary School
  • Edison Elementary School
  • Ellison Elementary School
  • Eugene Field Elementary School
  • Hall Elementary School
  • Humboldt Elementary School
  • Hosea Elementary School
  • Hyde Elementary School
  • Lake Contrary Elementary School
  • Lindbergh Elementary School
  • Mark Twain Elementary School
  • Noyes Elementary School
  • Parkway Elementary School
  • Pershing Elementary School
  • Pickett Elementary School
  • Skaith Elementary School

Public middle schools

  • Bode Middle School
  • Robidoux Middle School
  • Spring Garden Middle School
  • Truman Middle School

Public high schools

Private schools

Colleges and universities

Special focus institutions

  • Vatterott College[11]
  • American College of Technology[12]


The St. Joseph Transit is publicly owned and provides bus service. Rosecrans Memorial Airport is a joint municipal/military owned airport for general aviation. It is the home of the 139th Airlift wing of the Missouri National Guard. It does not have commercial service.


Two of the city's largest parks are Krug Park and the Parkway Saint Joseph, Missouri.

The Buchanan County Courthouse in downtown St. Joseph

Media outlets

Television stations

  • KQTV, Channel 2, KQ2 (ABC)
  • KTAJ, Channel 16, TV16 (TBN)
  • News-Press 3 NOW, Cable Channel 3, NP3N (Local)

Radio stations

  • KFEQ, 680 AM (news/talk)
  • KGNM, 1270 AM (Christian)
  • KKJO, 105.5 FM (hot AC)
  • KESJ, 1550 AM (sports talk)
  • KSJQ, 92.7 FM (country)
  • KSRD, 91.9 FM (Christian)
  • KAIR 1470 AM (Catholic)
  • KEXS-FM, 106.1 FM (Catholic)



See also

  • List of People from St. Joseph, Missouri

External links

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