Historical Markers in
Mercer County, Missouri

The University of Missouri, located in Columbia, was the first public university west of the Mississippi River. It was founded in 1839 and has a long history of academic and athletic excellence.
Mercer County, located in the northern part of Missouri, has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. The land that would become Mercer County was initially inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Osage and Iowa, who relied on the fertile soil and abundant wildlife for sustenance. European settlers began to arrive in the area in the early 1830s, establishing small towns and farms along the Grand River.

In 1845, Mercer County was officially formed and named after General Hugh Mercer, a Revolutionary War hero. The county quickly developed as an agricultural region, with farmers cultivating crops like corn, wheat, and tobacco. The construction of railroads in the late 19th century further contributed to the county's growth, facilitating transportation and trade.

The early 20th century brought both prosperity and challenges to Mercer County. The county's economy thrived with the expansion of coal mining and manufacturing industries. However, periods of drought and the Great Depression took a toll on the local economy, causing hardship for many residents. Despite these setbacks, Mercer County remained a tight-knit rural community, with residents supporting one another through various organizations and community events.

In recent years, Mercer County has experienced a decline in population due to the shift from agricultural to more urban-based industries. However, the county continues to cherish its small-town charm and natural beauty, offering attractions like the Mercer County Courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Mercer County, Missouri.

  • 1832 - Mercer County is officially organized as a county in Missouri.
  • 1840 - The first settlement is established in Mercer County.
  • 1853 - The county seat is established in Princeton.
  • 1872 - The Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska Railroad extends into Mercer County.
  • 1913 - The Missouri, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway is completed, connecting Mercer County to the national rail network.
  • 1931 - A tornado destroys much of downtown Princeton, causing significant damage to the county.
  • 1969 - Mercer County Hospital is opened, providing healthcare services to the community.
  • 2008 - The Mercer County Fair celebrates its 150th anniversary.