National Register Listings in
Harrison County, Missouri

The "Show-Me State" is Missouri's official nickname and is believed to have originated from a speech given by Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver in 1899. He said, "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me."
Harrison County, Missouri, has a rich and diverse history dating back to its settlement in the early 19th century. The area was first explored by European settlers in the late 1700s, but it wasn't until 1839 that the county was officially established. Named after Albert G. Harrison, a prominent politician of the time, Harrison County quickly grew in population and economic importance.

The county experienced rapid growth during the mid-19th century, attracting settlers with its fertile land and abundant natural resources. Agriculture became the backbone of the local economy, with farmers cultivating crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans. Additionally, the county's proximity to major rivers, such as the Grand River and the Thompson River, facilitated transportation of goods and further supported economic development.

During the Civil War, Harrison County saw its fair share of conflicts between Union and Confederate forces. While the county was predominantly pro-Union, guerrilla warfare was common, and several skirmishes took place in the area. Despite these challenges, the county continued to grow, and by the end of the war, it had recovered and resumed its path of progress.

In the 20th century, Harrison County saw advancements in infrastructure and education. The advent of railroads in the late 1800s brought new opportunities for trade and transportation. Schools and local institutions were established, providing the younger generations with access to education and knowledge. Today, Harrison County remains a thriving community with a strong agricultural sector and a close-knit community that values its history while embracing progress and growth.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Harrison County, Missouri.

  • 1839 - Harrison County is founded.
  • 1840 - The first courthouse is built in Bethany, the county seat.
  • 1861-1865 - Harrison County residents participate in the American Civil War.
  • 1871 - The Kansas City, St. Joseph and Council Bluffs Railroad reaches Bethany.
  • 1881 - The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad is completed in the county.
  • 1893 - A new courthouse is built in Bethany after the previous one is destroyed by a fire.
  • 1925 - Electrification of rural areas begins with the formation of the Harrison County Rural Electric Cooperative.
  • 1932 - The Great Depression affects Harrison County, causing economic challenges.
  • 1968 - A historical marker is placed at the birthplace of 4-H in Harrison County.
  • 1984 - The county courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.