Missouri was admitted to the Union as the 24th state on August 10, 1821, becoming the first state entirely west of the Mississippi River.
Phelps County, located in the state of Missouri, has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s. The area was initially home to indigenous tribes, including the Osage and Delaware nations. European settlers began arriving in the early 19th century, primarily from Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, attracted by the fertile valley and abundant natural resources.

The county was officially established in 1857 and named after U.S. Representative and Senator John Smith Phelps. During the Civil War, Phelps County experienced both Union and Confederate sympathies, leading to several skirmishes and conflicts in the region. Despite the turmoil, the county continued to grow and develop.

The arrival of the railroad in the late 19th century brought significant economic growth to Phelps County. Towns such as Rolla became important transportation hubs, connecting the region to major cities and facilitating trade and commerce. The establishment of the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy (now known as Missouri University of Science and Technology) in Rolla in 1870 further bolstered the county's development.

In the 20th century, Phelps County witnessed further growth and diversification of its economy. The county became an important center for agriculture, with crop farming and livestock production playing a vital role. Additionally, the presence of a major research university and a strong focus on technical education contributed to the emergence of a highly skilled workforce.

Today, Phelps County is a thriving community that combines its rural charm with modern amenities and opportunities. It continues to evolve and adapt to meet the changing needs of its residents, while also celebrating its rich history and cultural heritage.

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

  • 1818 - Phelps County is officially organized by the Missouri legislature.
  • 1837 - The first courthouse is built in the county seat, initially located in the town of Jefferson.
  • 1843 - The county seat is moved to its current location in the town of Rolla.
  • 1859 - The Missouri University of Science and Technology (then known as the Missouri School of Mines) is established in Rolla.
  • 1861-1865 - Phelps County, like much of Missouri, is heavily affected by the American Civil War.
  • 1870 - The first railroad line, the Southwestern Branch of the Pacific Railroad, is constructed in Phelps County.
  • 1903 - The Frisco Railway (St. Louis-San Francisco Railway) establishes its division headquarters in Rolla.
  • 1941-1945 - Phelps County plays a significant role in World War II as the location of Camp Crowder, a U.S. Army training center.
  • 1958 - The headquarters of the United States Geological Survey's Rolla Research Center is established in Rolla.
  • 2000 - Missouri University of Science and Technology achieves university status, expanding its academic programs and research efforts.