Look Up, Jefferson City! A Walking Tour of Jefferson City, Missouri
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2012 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
One of the first orders of business for the first Missouri general assembly that convened in St. Louis in 1820 was to find a centrally located site for the state capital. A commission of five was sent out with a mandate to select a site on the Missouri River “within 40 miles of the mouth of the Osage.” There was only one place within that sweep of land that remotely resembled a village, Cote Sans Dessein at the confluence of the two rivers. It was assumed that Missouri’s new capital city would alight there. It was so obvious, however, that speculators drove land prices out of sight.
The commissioners kept traveling upstream and found a bluff on the south side of the Missouri River where it was dictated would grow a capital city. The city was platted in 1822 and preparations made to accommodate the government’s arrival in 1826. But settlement was slow - it seems like not too many people were buying the idea of this Jefferson City as the capital of Missouri. Other towns were making ominous noises about snatching the capital to their more developed embraces.