Missouri History | Historic
Landmarks | Historical
Places in Ironton, Missouri
Ironton, Missouri Lodging, Bed and Breakfast
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1895 Map of Ironton,
Missouri and surrounding areas.
Missouri ~ History and Landmarks, Iron County, MO
Ephraim Stout built a log house in this valley (as early as
1805-1807) along the creek which still bears his name.
There were few settlers over the next three decades. Those
that did arrive, were drawn primarily by the abundant buffalo
and deer population, but in 1836 things changed. The vast
iron ore resources of Iron County were discovered. Mining
brought increased numbers of settlers to the region.
When Iron County was formed February 17, 1857, the name was
derived from its principal mineral. When the county
was organized, H. N. Tong and David Carson who operated a
mercantile business at the base of Shepherd Mountain, immediately
sprang into action and laid out a town. They named it
Ironton and entered it on the list with Arcadia, Pilot Knob
and Middlebrook as competing points for the county seat.
The election took place in 1857. Ironton was ultimately
chosen after the second round of voting, due in large part,
to the "sweetened offer" provided by Mr. Tong and
Carson after the first vote had taken place. Having already
cleared and graded a tract of land for town lots, they offered
to sell alternating lots, the proceeds of which would be donated
toward the building of a court house. In short, proceeds
donated to the county totaled $10,602.68, Ironton was selected,
and the historic Iron County Courthouse was built.
Prior to 1857, the only way for the Pilot Knob Iron Company
to transport its iron ore to market was over the old plank
road to Ste. Genevieve in oxen-pulled wagons. It was
a time of celebration throughout the region when the St.
Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad was completed all the
way to Pilot Knob, sister community to both Ironton and Arcadia.
Homes and businesses sprung up and Ironton became the center
of commerce for the area.
The region and Ironton were thriving; that is, until the specter
of the Civil War began to encroach upon Missouri . . . the
time of celebration came to a halt. The recently completed
railroad at Pilot Knob was valuable to both sides, Union and
Confederate, as it transported many raw materials to the city
of St. Louis. The war pitted Missourian against Missourian
wreaking havoc, pain, death and destruction in its path through
Missouri. The Battle of Pilot Knob at Fort Davidson
in Pilot Knob was one of the most important battles in the
more about the Civil War in our region here. The
historic Iron County Courthouse still bears the scar of a
cannonball. Also in Ironton, General Ulysses S. Grant,
received his commission as brigadier general and became commander
of the union forces in southeast Missouri, while camped by
a spring which still flows in Ironton. A
monument to General Grant rests on the lawn of the Ste. Marie
Du Lac Catholic Church. (Please see photo at top of page.)
After the war, the area once again became a bustling community
and was popular as a nineteenth century summer resort for
wealthy St. Louisans and others. Today graceful antebellum
homes and turn of the century mercantile buildings recall
a rich history. Visit historic Main Street, tour historic
visit charming bed and breakfast inns or cottages. Stay
at attractive motels. Be
sure to stop by Whistle Junction Visitors Center on Hwy 21
for information and self-guided-tour driving directions.
For lodging and accommodations in Ironton, Missouri click
you are researching genealogy in Ironton, Missouri, please see
page for helpful information and resources. Better yet, travel
to our region for a
family history vacation and see for yourself!