by Anakin Bush

Missouri is full of interesting history and destinations to visit. Kansas City, St. Louis, and Jefferson City are well known for their fun and historical activities. There is a lesser known city in Missouri that is full of interesting history: St. Joseph.

St. Joseph is home to a wealth of historical places and green spaces. Photo by Angelia Sigrist.

St. Joseph is located about an hour north of Kansas City. Founded in 1843, plenty of American history has happened in the city. The Pony Express, Jesse James and the Oregon Trail are all events that have roots in St. Joe. Even if you aren’t looking for historical events, there are plenty of activities to entertain any visitor.

1. Pony Express Museum

Many Missourians don’t know that the Pony Express actually started in Missouri. In April 1860, the first ever Pony Express delivery departed from the base in St. Joseph.  The museum building is actually the original stables used for the Pony Express. The Pony Express Museum located in downtown St. Joe is full of interesting facts and artifacts from the Pony Express era, such as who some of the Pony Express riders were.

2. Jesse James House

A well known saying in St. Joe is “Where the Pony Express started and where Jesse James ended”. It is a little known fact that Jesse James actually died in his home located in St. Joe. He was shot from behind while hanging a painting, and you can actually see the bullet hole in the wall at this museum. The museum has plenty of other interesting history about the life of one of the most infamous criminals in American history, including some real wanted posters for Jesse James.

Picture of entrance sign to Glore Psychiatric and other museums. Photo by Natalie Bush.

3. Glore Psychiatric Museum

Looking for something a little more unusual? The Glore Psychiatric Museum is just the place for you. The museum is located in the former State Lunatic Asylum No. 2. Originally opened in 1874 as a state hospital dedicated to mental health treatment, there are tons of interesting patients to learn about through a variety of exhibits. One of the most famous patients swallowed 453 nails, many of which are on display!



4. Patee House Museum

The Patee House Museum is an amazing building full of St. Joseph history. St. Joe was originally founded as a trade post on the Missouri River, and Patee House has plenty of interesting objects to look at and interact with, including a vintage carousel from the 1940’s. The museum building is actually the original headquarters for the Pony Express, as well as being a hotel that opened in 1858.

Photo of an area in Krug Park. Photo credits to Bill Pawling.

5. Krug Park

St. Joseph is home to several parks, but the biggest is Krug Park. The 163 acre park has several sights and activities to keep you busy. Near the central pond is a large outdoor amphitheatre, where performances are held. There are two separate playgrounds, and plenty of trails to hike on through the woods. During the Christmas season, the park is transformed into a drive through experience where you can see Christmas lights and other holiday sights.

If you are in the area of St. Joseph, be sure to stop by and visit some of the many tourist destinations. It is a perfect place to travel for a weekend trip, or even just for a day.