Historic Plattsburg Missouri

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.

Early History
The town now known as Plattsburg was created to be the county seat of the newly formed Clinton County. It lost its boundary status in 1837 when the Indian Platte Purchase territory extended the State border to 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 field hospital.

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

Recent History

Civil War 1864 Battle of Plattsburg
Related Links:
Clinton County Historical Society