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Saint Joseph, MO

With a population of nearly 74,000, Saint Joseph, Missouri, is one of the larger suburbs of Kansas City and the eighth-largest city in the state. Saint Joseph also maintains historical significance on a national level. The city was founded in 1843 by fur trader Joseph Robidoux as the central location of Blacksnake Hills, his trading post. The town quickly became the last tie to civilization for people beginning their 2,000-mile-long journeys to the west, who wouldn't see another city for nearly three months. The addition of the Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad in February 1859, and its location next to the Missouri River, saw Saint Joseph become a supply and distribution point to the west. The city's population boomed from 800 in 1846 to 8,932 in 1860. In April, 1860, the Pony Express was established and headquartered in Saint Joseph as a means of shortening the time it took mail to get to California. With the establishment of 156 postal stations, 120 riders, 400 horses, and hundreds of employees, it took the Pony Express only ten days to transport mail from Saint Joseph to Sacramento, California. Throughout the 19 months of its existence, the Pony Express saw only one rider killed and one bag of mail lost. Though it was not a business success, the Pony Express ensured Saint Joseph's place on the map.

BEST BETS

The Patee House: This historic four-story brick hotel served as the headquarters for the Pony Express. Today the building is a museum of communications and transportation and houses numerous antiques exhibits, a representation of the "Streets of Old St. Jo," a blacksmith shop, a 1920s-era service station, and the gallows from the Buchanan County jail.

Jesse James Home. The historic Jesse James Home at 1318 Lafayette Street, where the famous outlaw was shot and killed in 1882, serves as a museum dedicated to his life. On display in the museum are numerous artifacts from his grave, including the coffin handles, a small tie pin he was wearing at the time of his death, and a bullet that was removed from his right lung. The museum is on the grounds of the Patee Hotel Museum.

The historical significance of Saint Joseph comes to life in a large number of additional attractions and activities, including:

  • Twin Spires -- a historical landmark church resplendent with turn-of-the-20th-century architecture and stained-glass windows
  • Lizam Tours -- an audience-participation historical recount of the Wild West from a woman's perspective
  • Missouri Theater -- a renovated 1927 movie theater now used for local and touring productions
  • Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art -- houses 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century Midwest artwork
  • Robidoux Row Museum -- originally a series of houses built by Joseph Robidoux for new settlers to Saint Joseph to stay in while their houses were being built; now a museum and headquarters for the Saint Joseph historical society

Additional museums in the city include the National Military Heritage Museum, the Glore Psychiatric Museum, the Pony Express National Museum, and the Society of Memories Doll Museum.

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

Saint Joseph prides itself on being the perfect combination of urban and community living. Beautiful residential neighborhoods include the Hall Street Historic District, consisting of homes built from 1860 to 1905 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and Museum Hill Historic District, with homes built in the 1800s. While residents have access to services often found in cities, they also enjoy the serene atmosphere the greenery of this city provides. City police patrol the streets on foot and bicycle, as well as in patrol cars, offering a reassuringly safe environment and lower crime rate.

EVENTS

The following events are held annually in Saint Joseph:

  • Moila Shrine Circus, held in March
  • Saint Joseph Symphony, with concerts throughout the year
  • Saint Joseph Community Chorus, with five annual concerts
  • Art in the Park Visual Art Show and Sale, held in June
  • Trails West Festival, an arts, crafts, and food festival held in August
  • Missouri Verses and Voices Festival, held in October

SPORTS TEAMS

The Saint Joseph Saints is a professional minor league baseball team; additionally, Saint Joseph maintains a basketball team in the U.S. Basketball League.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

In 1887, Saint Joseph became a booming meatpacking and stockyards center, and it remains an active industry today. Triumph Foods is a pork processing plant and large employer in Saint Joseph. Other large employers in the city include Heartland Regional Medical Center and Stetson Hats. For entrepreneurs looking to open a new business, Saint Joseph offers the Mitchell Woods complex, a 500-acre business community. Saint Joseph also offers incentive programs to help businesses save money, such as the Enterprise Zone program, Customized Training programs, and special discounted rates from local utilities, as well as a local pool of funds to provide grants to qualifying businesses. Six railways serve Saint Joseph, so that it remains a central distribution hub for the nation. Farming and dry goods are industries that benefit from this railway system. Many Saint Joseph residents also commute into Kansas City for jobs in that metropolitan area.

EDUCATION

There are 28 schools in the Saint Joseph School District, with an enrollment of more than 11,500 students. Saint Joseph schools rank seven out of ten, which is higher than 63 percent of schools in Missouri. Additionally, Saint Joseph is home to Missouri Western State University and the following private schools:

  • Bishop LeBlond High School
  • Cathedral Grade School
  • St. Francis Xavier Grade School
  • St. James Grade School
  • Saint Joseph Christian School

LOCAL MEDIA

The local newspaper is the St. Joseph News Press, and Missouri Southern State University releases a campus newspaper, the MWSU Griffon News. There is a variety of radio stations with genres that include talk radio, rock, oldies music, Christian music, and country music. The following local television stations are available:

  • KQTV, Channel 2 (ABC)
  • ST. JOE NOW, Channel 3 (local)
  • KTAJ, Channel 16 (TBN)