Historical Marker in
Ripley County, Missouri

The first ever drive-thru restaurant in the world was opened in Springfield, Missouri in 1947 by a man named Red Chaney. The restaurant, called Red's Giant Hamburg, was known for its signature "Giant Hamburgers" and became a popular fast food chain in the Midwest.
Ripley County, Missouri has a rich and diverse history that stretches back to its early Native American inhabitants. The land that would become Ripley County was inhabited by the Osage and Quapaw tribes, who used the area for hunting and gathering. European settlement of the region began in the early 19th century, with the arrival of French and Spanish explorers.

In 1820, Ripley County was established as one of the original five counties of the Missouri Territory. The county was named after Eleazer Ripley, an American general who served during the War of 1812. Throughout the 19th century, Ripley County saw slow but steady growth, with agriculture and logging becoming important industries. The county also experienced a surge in population with the California Gold Rush in the 1850s, as many settlers passed through the region on their way west.

During the American Civil War, Ripley County was a contested area with divided loyalties. Located on the border of Union and Confederate forces, the county saw several skirmishes and raids. Despite this, Ripley County managed to avoid the large-scale battles that ravaged other parts of Missouri. After the war, the county focused on rebuilding and recovering from the devastation.

In the 20th century, Ripley County experienced modernization and economic development. Railroads were built, bringing easier transportation and boosting the local economy. Agriculture remained a vital industry, with cotton, timber, and livestock production becoming prominent. Today, Ripley County continues to be a rural county with a strong agricultural heritage, while also embracing tourism and preserving its historical sites.

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

  • 1803: The area that will later become Ripley County is acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase
  • 1811: The first American settlers arrive in the region
  • 1833: Ripley County is officially established
  • 1845: The county seat is established in Doniphan
  • 1861-1865: Ripley County residents participate in the American Civil War
  • 1895: The Current River Bridge is constructed, improving transportation in the area
  • 1939: The Mark Twain National Forest is established, encompassing parts of Ripley County
  • 1958: The creation of the Lake Wappapello reservoir enhances recreational opportunities in the county
  • 2008: Ripley County celebrates its 175th anniversary