History of Mokane - Mokane, MO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 38° 40.478 W 091° 52.236
15S E 598244 N 4281276
Railroad town, and a division point on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad
Waymark Code: WMT1WC
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 09/11/2016
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Geo Ferret
Views: 0

County of marker: Callaway County
Location of marker: MO-C & Katy Trail State Park Trailhead, Mokane
Marker erected: 2010
Marker erected by: Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Marker Text:
1818 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Smith's Landing
Thomas Smith, a private with Callaway's Rangers, founded a small town along the Missouri River in 1818. The town, dubbed Smith's Landing, was based around steamboat commerce. In addition to goods being brought to town, crops such as tobacco and grain were exported by steamboat.

A Town by any Other Name
Smith's Landing became St. Auburt in 1848. River traffic continued to sustain the town through the steamboat heydey [sic] of 1857. The town suffered through recurring floods and declining steamboat traffic. St. Auburt was unable to recover after a devastating flood of 1888.

The people of St. Auburt disbanded soon after the flood. Some former residents used the arrival of the Missouri-Kansas-Eastern Railroad as an opportunity to build a new town. Several buildings from St. Auburt were even dismantled and rebuilt at the new site near the railroad tracks.

The new town retained the St. Auburt name. When residents petitioned for a post office, they were denied because another post office, on the south side of the river, was already named St. Auburt. The townsfolk then held a contest to name the town. The winning name was Mokane, a reference to the Missouri-Kansas-Eastern Railroad (MO KAN E) that had given the town its new beginning. The Missouri-Kansas-Eastern Railroad was later incorporated into the MKT Railroad.

1893 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
"A Location Fit for the Gods"
The Fulton Gazette published an article on June 22, 1893, about the scenery of the Mokane area. It read, in part:

"...the new M.K.& E. tracks and switches marked their trail of steel through the valley and a mile further north the mighty Missouri curved and flowed in its journey to the sea; while just beyond towered the great Osage hills with the swift Missouri Pacific skirting their base -- a location fit for the gods and a fit place for a great city to grow and prosper."

The Railroad Creates a Town
Mokane quickly became an important hub for railroad traffic. The town was the halfway point, or division point, between St. Louis and Sedalia. This necessitated and increase in infrastructure including a roundhouse and the MK&T Hotel, built primarily for railroad employees. Mokane was also an unloading point for shipments destined for Fulton, the nearby county seat.

If You Build It....
Around 1900, Mokane commissioned a small jail to be built for the town. Soon after the building's completion, the man who was in charge of building the jail was arrested for public intoxication. In a twist of fate, he ended up being the first resident of the jailhouse. The jail still stands, though it was moved from its original location to a more prominent spot in the town. Its current location is the former site of the MK&T Hotel.

1923 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mokane's Decline
In the early 1920s, the St. Louis-Sedalia Division point was moved west to Franklin Junction, near Boonville. So started the beginning of Mokane's decline. The main employer during the '20s and '30s was the Missouri Veneer Co. factory, not the railroad. The towns population of 726 in 1920 dwindled to 185 as of 2010.

World's Fair-to-Go
Mokane is home to a house built in St. Louis as part of a demonstration neighborhood for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. A member of the MKT Railroad moved the house, probably by train, to its current location after the fair. The house is built in a neo-classical revival style with many oak accents. Today, Mokane hosts an annual fair called the Mokane World's Fair.

Entering the Atomic Age
In 1973, AmerenUE, a subsidiary of St. Louis-based electric company Ameren Corp., announced that it had chosen the Reform area near Mokane to build a new nuclear power plant. Construction began soon after, and the plant went fully operational in 1984. The huge cooling tower, visible from many miles away, stands 553 feet tall and is 430 feet in diameter at the base. The nearby Missouri River supplies water to aid in the cooling process via an underground pipe.

The construction of the plant was a huge boon for the Callaway County economy. Aside from the jobs created, money from local taxes made the Callaway County R-II School District one of the wealthiest district per-student in the state.

History of Mark:
See text above.

Web link: Not listed

Additional point: Not Listed

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