Fredericktown, Missouri

Fredericktown, Missouri
Fredericktown, Missouri
—  City  —
Location of Fredericktown, Missouri
Coordinates: 37°33′34″N 90°17′40″W / 37.55944°N 90.29444°W / 37.55944; -90.29444Coordinates: 37°33′34″N 90°17′40″W / 37.55944°N 90.29444°W / 37.55944; -90.29444
Country United States
State Missouri
County Madison
 – Total 4.4 sq mi (11.4 km2)
 – Land 4.3 sq mi (11.1 km2)
 – Water 0.1 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 741 ft (226 m)
Population (2000)
 – Total 3,928
 – Density 919.9/sq mi (355.2/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 – Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 63645
Area code(s) 573
FIPS code 29-25768[1]
GNIS feature ID 0749986[2]

Fredericktown is a city in and the county seat of Madison County, Missouri, United States,[3] in the northeastern foothills of the Ozark Mountains. The population was 3,928 at the 2000 census. The city is surrounded on three sides (east, west, and south) by the easternmost parcel of the Mark Twain National Forest.

Madison County Courthouse



Early Settlement

The earliest European settlement in the area near what is now Fredericktown was Mine La Motte, a small community about six miles (10 km) to the north. Mine La Motte was first settled by Europeans to mine a large vein of galena lead ore distributed in dolomite that reached the surface there. The need for a local source of lead for ammunition made Mine La Motte one of the earliest European settlements in the interior of the North American continent. Another earlier settlement was the French Catholic community of St. Michaels, Missouri, which is located just north of the current Fredericktown site on the other side of Saline Creek. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the Americanization of the area began in earnest with an influx of second and third generation German Reformed Church settlers from the next county eastward, Bollinger County. In 1819, the area was organized to form Madison County. The name was chosen to honor James Madison, who had been the two-term President of the United States up until two years earlier (from 1809 to 1817), and who had handled the Louisiana Purchase as Secretary of State for Thomas Jefferson. At the time that Madison County was organized, the land south of Saline Creek was owned by Col. Nathaniel Cook. A new town was laid out on Col. Cook's higher, less flood-prone land, and named Fredericktown in honor of Col. Cook's close friend from Bollinger County, Col. George Frederick Bollinger.

Recreation Areas

The largest and most accessible recreation area in Madison County is the Silver Mines Recreation Area, which is part of the Mark Twain National Forest. Along with its associated Turkey Creek Picnic Area and Millstream Garden Conservation Area, Silver Mines provides miles of beautiful hiking trails along the sides of one of the deepest valleys of the St. Francis River. In the spring, the white waters of the river are also a popular site for kayaking contests. For anyone interested in geology, Silver Mines offers the additional benefit of easy access to an unusual variety of rare minerals (see Geology).

A beautiful location to the east of Fredericktown is the Castor River Shut-Ins, where the Castor River travels through large boulders of pink granite.

The southwestern part of the county is notable for some of the highest mountains in Missouri, and for steep, beautiful valleys that are for the most part accessible only by foot. Perhaps the most impressive such valley is Cathedral Canyon, which is difficult to get to but provides a spectacular hike between the steep bluffs of Trackler and Glade Dotted Black Mountains. A full list of Madison County hiking trails and scenic areas, and just as importantly, how to access them, can be found at Madison County Parks and Hiking Trails.


The location of Fredericktown at the border of the northeastern edge of the Ozark Mountains provides a sharp contrast in geography as one travels from east to west. The eastern edge of Madison County consists largely of gentler, more rolling hills ridges of sedimentary dolomite, while the western edges of the county consist of steep-sided, round-profile hills consisting largely of far more ancient Precambrian rhyolites (heavily compacted and heat-fused volcanic minerals) and beautiful pink granites.

By driving west from Fredericktown on Highway 72 and looking further west, one can witness a rare geological oddity: the fossilization not just of a plant or animal, but of an entire very ancient landscape. As viewed from that vantage point, the round-profile rhyolite and granite hills of the western side of Madison County resemble an archipelago of heavily weathered islands, with the shallow tree-filled valleys taking the place of shallow seas. The resemblance is not a coincidence. These particular hills are in fact fossil islands from the Precambrian period. Even more remarkably, the remnants of the shallow sea in which they once stood can still be seen in the form of sedimentary dolomite deposits that still lap up gently against the sides of the much harder igneous and metamorphic rocks of the hills.

The hills were originally islands that developed over an unimaginably long period of gradual erosion, during a geological period when change took place much more slowly than it does today. The islands were subsequently submerged under an ocean, and in time buried under several thousand feet of much softer dolomite deposits. When the Ozark Mountains plateau was later pushed upward again, possibly due to an intra-continental mantle plume that may also have been responsible for some of the abundant ore deposits of the region, the softer dolomite was weathered away to leave the original Precambrian islands largely intact. Since juniper prefers a more alkaline soil, it is sometimes possible to locate the margins of the ancient sea from a distance by looking for the distinctive light green color of junipers growing on the more alkaline oceanic dolomite deposits between the island hills.

Another remnant of the ancient sea can be found in road cuts along Highway 72, where one can find small, rounded granite boulders that once rolled off of the ancient islands and into shallow sea surrounding them. Unlike more familiar forms of granite, these boulders are so soft that it is often possible to peel onion-like layers from them using only one's hands. The softness of these unusual stones reflects the very slow pace of events in the ancient archipelago, since such deep surface-inward weathering requires that the original rounded granite rocks remain immobile and undisturbed over immense lengths of time. Our much more dynamic modern world breaks such soft layers from rocks long before they can accumulate, so that modern granite rocks age not by getting softer, but by getting smaller.


Fredericktown is nearly unique in the United States for the variety of minerals and metals that have been found and commercially mined nearby, including lead, iron, copper, silver, cobalt, nickel, zinc, tungsten, and small amounts of gold, all of which have been mined at various times within a 20 miles (32 km) of the town. The mines immediately east of the town, in what has been called the Old Lead Belt, were at one time one of the largest sources of lead in the United States. One of the oldest, and possibly the oldest, lead mines on the North American continent can be found six miles (10 km) north in Mine La Motte. While little iron or no iron has ever been mined in Madison County, very large deposits of mostly hematite with associated magnetite exist 20 miles (32 km) to the west in Iron County. These deposits have been mined since at least Civil War times.

Also west of Fredericktown but still within Madison County is the Silver Mines Recreation Area,[4] which is situated along a steep river gorge of the St. Francis River. This area contains the ruins of both a 1920s silver mine and a World War II era tungsten mine. Examples of the minerals that were once mined can still be found in the abundant tailings on the south side of the St. Francis River, just downstream of a now-breached stone dam. They consist of metallic-appearing sulfides such as sphalerite, arsenopyrite, and marcasite embedded in opaque veins of quartz. Careful searchers can also find crystals of wolframite, a tungsten ore that was mined briefly during World War II when access to other sources was cut off, and small grains of topaz, which caused the earlier silver miners of the area considerable economic grief by wearing out their diamond-tipped drills more quickly than anticipated. Both highly magnetic magnetite and slightly magnetic ilmenite (titanium ore) grains can be found be found in patches of black sands left along the beach of the main swimming area.

Madison County also contains unique igneous rocks not found anywhere else, such as Devonite, a colorful decorative stone found only in a single igneous intrusion dike on Mount Devon.

Fredericktown is located at 37°33′34″N 90°17′40″W / 37.55944°N 90.29444°W / 37.55944; -90.29444 (37.559436, -90.294533)[5].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11 km2), of which, 4.3 square miles (11 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (3.17%) is water.

Also found west of Fredericktown but still within Madison County is Black Mountain. Highway E runs along the base of Black Mountain, beside the St. Francis River. While Black Mountain is only the 42nd highest (above sea level) in Missouri, Black Mountain has the largest change in elevation from the base to the summit. The St. Francis River at the base of Black Mountain is about 540 feet above sea level. The summit of Black Mountain is 1,502 feet above sea level, which is a difference of almost 1,000 feet. In contrast, Taum Sauk Mountain, the highest in Missouri, only rises about 700 feet from its base, because it rises from an already elevated plain. Taum Sauk is the highest mountain in Missouri. Black Mountain is the tallest.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 3,928 people, 1,625 households, and 1,010 families residing in the city. The population density was 919.9 people per square mile (355.2/km²). There were 1,817 housing units at an average density of 425.5 per square mile (164.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.76% White, 0.20% African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.41% from other races, and 0.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.69% of the population.

There were 1,625 households out of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.8% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 24.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 78.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $21,354, and the median income for a family was $27,149. Males had a median income of $27,593 versus $16,729 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,512. About 17.4% of families and 22.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.4% of those under age 18 and 14.1% of those age 65 or over.

Local government

The City of Fredericktown is divided into three wards. Each Ward has two alderman who serve terms of two years each. In each Ward, the alderman are elected in alternate years. The alderman, the mayor and several elected and appointed city officers form the city council. The mayor presides over the meetings, and votes only in the event of a tie. The mayor is elected to a two-year term in each even year. The current mayor of the City of Fredericktown is Mark Tripp and Alderman are: Ward I Paul Brown and Harold Thomas, Ward II Rick Polete and Sie Merrimam Sr. and Ward III Karen Wright and Richard Walts 2010).


  • Elementary Schools (Grammar) (K-5)
    • Fredericktown Elementary School (K-2)
    • Fredericktown Intermediate School (3-5)
  • Middle School (Junior High) (Grades 6-8)
    • Fredericktown Middle School (Burned down Saturday, April 10, 2010)
  • High School (Grades 9-12)
    • Fredericktown High School


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ Silver Mines Recreation Area, US Forest Service
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 

External links

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