Lexington, on the bluffs above the broad Missouri, grew up around Jack's Ferry, 1819, to become by 1860 one of the great river ports of the State. Prosperous river trade and agricultural richness of the area made the town a commercial center, an outfitting point for emigrants West, and an educational and financial metropolis. Lexington became the seat of Lafayette (then Lillard) Co., 1823.
Here were established a U.S. Land Office, 1823; a fifth Branch Bank of the State of Missouri, 1845; and offices of the great freighting firm, Russell, Majors and Waddell, in 1850's. The proud roll of early schools lists the first college founded by Masons in the world, Masonic College, opened 1848; Baptist Female College, chartered 1855; Elizabeth Aull (Presbyterian) Seminary, 1859; and Central (Methodist) College for Women, 1869. Today's noted Wentworth Military Academy was founded, 1880.
Many lovely ante-bellum homes reflect Classic-Revival design of the courthouse, built 1847-49. The cannon ball embedded in courthouse column is relic of Confederate victory in the 1861 Battle of Lexington.
In 1861, Lexington was early regarded as a strategic military prize and was occupied by Union troops to prevent the State Guard forces north and south of Missouri River from uniting. Gen. Sterling Price moved
Among points of interest are Lexington Battlefield; Anderson House, 1853, site of violent encounters while used as a battle hospital, now a public historic house museum; replica of Masonic College Hall; Machpelah Cemetery and grave of first settler Gilead Rupe; "Madonna of the Trail" monument by F.C. Hibbard, one of 12 in U.S. erected by D.A.R to mark National Old Trails Roads; Episcopal Church, a Gothic-Revival chapel, built 1846; and Public Library and Historical Association, housed in former Cumberland Presbyterian Church, built about 1840.
Near Lexington Bridge, completed 1925, the side-wheeler Saluda exploded in 1852. Most of the passengers, Mormons, perished.
Erected 1953 by State Historical Society of Missouri and State Highway Commission.
Location. 39° 11.113′ N, 93° 52.943′ W. Marker is in Lexington, Missouri, in Lafayette County. Marker is at the intersection of 11th Street and Main Street, on the left when traveling north on 11th Street. Touch for map. Marker is located on east side of County Courthouse. Marker is in this post office area: Lexington MO 64067, United States of America.
Other nearby markers.
Categories. • Disasters • Education • Settlements & Settlers • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 9, 2015, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 147 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 9, 2015, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.