National Register Listing in
Worth County, Missouri

The town of Bonne Terre, Missouri, has the largest underground lake in the United States. The Bonne Terre Mine was once one of the world's largest lead mines, but is now a popular scuba diving destination.
Worth County, located in the northwestern part of Missouri, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The first inhabitants of the area were Native American tribes, including the Missouri, Ioway, and Otoe, who relied on the land for hunting, fishing, and gathering. European settlers began moving into the region in the early 19th century, following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

The county was officially established in 1861 and named after General William J. Worth, a hero of the Mexican-American War. The early pioneers faced various challenges, such as establishing homesteads, building infrastructure, and interacting with Native American tribes. Agriculture quickly became the backbone of the local economy, with farmers cultivating crops, raising livestock, and producing timber.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Worth County experienced a period of significant growth and development. Railroads were constructed, connecting the county to larger markets and facilitating economic progress. This led to an influx of new settlers and the establishment of more towns and businesses. The county also witnessed the rise of coal mining, which brought additional employment opportunities and helped to fuel the local economy.

Despite these positive developments, Worth County, like many other rural regions, faced challenges during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The economic downturn resulted in widespread unemployment, agricultural struggles, and population decline. However, the county gradually recovered, and today, Worth County continues to be primarily focused on agriculture, including corn, soybeans, cattle, and hogs.

Throughout its history, Worth County has remained a close-knit community, with residents committed to preserving their heritage and cultivating a strong sense of belonging. The county is home to several historic landmarks, including the town of Grant City, which was founded in 1860 and serves as the county seat. Worth County's story is a testament to the resilience and determination of its residents in the face of challenges and a testament to the importance of agriculture in the region's identity and economy.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Worth County, Missouri.

  • 1838 - Worth County, Missouri is established
  • 1841 - The first permanent settlements are established in the area
  • 1851 - The county seat is established in the town of Grant City
  • 1853 - Worth County's first newspaper, The Worth County Times, is published
  • 1861-1865 - Worth County residents participate in the American Civil War
  • 1871 - Worth County's first courthouse is built in Grant City
  • 1880 - The population of Worth County reaches its peak at around 8,000 residents
  • 1909 - The St. Joseph & Grand Island Railroad extends its tracks through Worth County
  • 1910 - Worth County's first high school is established in Grant City
  • 1930s - The Great Depression hits Worth County, causing economic hardship
  • 1942 - During World War II, many young men from Worth County serve in the military
  • 1975 - The Worth County Courthouse is destroyed by a fire
  • 1978 - A new Worth County Courthouse is built in Grant City
  • 1997 - The Worth County Development Corporation is formed to promote economic growth