History of Plattsburg
and Clinton County
Once forming part of Missouri's western boundary, Clinton
County was organized in 1833, twenty years before the
founding of Kansas City, Missouri.
Originally, Plattsburg was called Concord but two months
later that name was changed to Springfield. However, it was
found that there was another town by that name in Missouri. One year
later, in January of 1835, the name "Plattsburg" was borrowed from
Plattsburgh, New York, which is the county seat of Clinton County,
New York. This in turn was named for the Vice President, George
Clinton, who is the namesake for Clinton County, Missouri.
For a brief period of time during the
1830's, Plattsburg was home to a Federal land office for the newly
opened areas of northern Missouri and was one of the farthest
western non-military settlements in the United States until the
Platte Purchase in 1836.
In the 1830's Plattsburg became a railroad center. It was a
crossroads trading center and the location of a U.S. land office
from 1843 to 1859. Depots were built by branch lines of the
St. Louis, Kansas City, Hannibal & St. Joseph
Railroads in 1871.
(Pictured: "Ye Old
Town of Plattsburg" - Date unknown, however electric poles and
buggies estimate 1910-1929)
During the Civil War, Plattsburg was divided between both
Confederate and Federal forces. During this time, Plattsburg history
shows at least one church denomination was split between northern
and southern support; however, the county in general tended to sway
more towards southern beliefs. Until a fire destroyed it in
the mid 2000's, a Methodist Church was the oldest public building in
Plattsburg. Built in 1859, the church was later used as a
hiding place for Northern sympathizers, and in 1862, it served as a
Areas around Plattsburg have long been a fertile and somewhat
flat land, perfect for growing crops like tobacco and hemp, which
may have accounted for their general inclination towards southern
support. In addition, Clinton County is also a leading cattle
county, and is a grain, dairy and poultry producer.
Modern facilities came early for Plattsburg, with homes built in
the 1920's equipped for electricity; the original sewage system was
installed in 1928. Most of Plattsburg's Antebellum homes were
torn down and replaced during the late 1880-1900's by newer
"Victorian" homes, many of which are still in existence today.
Plattsburg was once considered a cultural town, and housed an
early school, the Plattsburg Methodist College. The college
opened in 1855 and was later closed in 1897 under the private
ownership of J. W. Ellis. The town also boasted an Opera
House and was once even home to a Chautauqua Indian Tribe.
Old Plattsburg College