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Boonville, Missouri
City of Boonville
Buildings in downtown Boonville
Buildings in downtown Boonville
Location of Boonville, Missouri
Location of Boonville, Missouri
U.S. Census Map
U.S. Census Map
Country United States
State Missouri
County Cooper
Founded 1817
 • Total 8.03 sq mi (20.80 km2)
 • Land 7.69 sq mi (19.91 km2)
 • Water 0.34 sq mi (0.89 km2)
669 ft (204 m)
 • Total 8,319
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,097.83/sq mi (423.88/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code 660
FIPS code 29-07318
GNIS feature ID 0714540
Boonville, Missouri (2015)
Former train station in Boonville

Boonville is a city and the county seat of Cooper County, Missouri, United States. The population was 8,319 at the 2010 census. The city was the site of a skirmish early in the Civil War, on July 17, 1861. Union forces defeated the Missouri State Guard in the first Battle of Boonville. It is part of the Columbia, Missouri metropolitan area.


The community derives its name from Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone, who were the sons of Daniel Boone and established their salt business near the community in the early 1800s by delivering the salt from salt licks to St. Louis. The area has been called "Boone's Lick" and the route from the lick to St. Charles/St. Louis, Missouri is called the Boone's Lick Trail. The eastern terminus near Boonville at Franklin, Missouri is considered the original start of the Santa Fe Trail.

The first pioneers were Hannah and Stephen Cole, who settled in 1810. During skirmishes with Native Americans in the War of 1812 they moved to a fort on the north side of the Missouri River (called on markers as "Hannah Cole Fort"). That fort subsequently became the first county seat of Howard County, Missouri.

After the war, the town was formally laid out in 1817 by Asa Morgan and Charles Lucas. Boonville was named the county seat in 1818.

The community's position on the Santa Fe Trail and Missouri River led to many historic residents of the era living there during the westward expansion including George Graham Vest, David Barton, William Ash and George Caleb Bingham.

The Cooper County Jail was built in 1848 and remained in place until 1979 with a claim that it was the longest-serving jail in Missouri history.

In 1855, Thespian Hall opened and now claims to be the oldest continuously running theatre west of the Allegheny Mountains.

More than 400 buildings (most in 14 separate historical districts) are listed on National Register of Historic Places listings in Cooper County, Missouri.

During the American Civil War, the community was fought over and held by both sides including in the Battle of Boonville on June 17, 1861, a month before the First Battle of Bull Run which gave the Union control of the Missouri River; and 2nd Battle of Boonville on September 13, 1861; and its capture by Sterling Price in 1864 in Price's Raid.

The city was a strategic target because of its location on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. The track was subsequently taken over by the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad. In the 1980s, the track section that traversed the town was converted to parkland, as part of Katy Trail State Park. Today, the "Katy Trail" is the longest rails to trails system in the United States.

In 2008, Anheuser-Busch InBev opened the Warm Springs Ranch west of Boonville as the primary breeding farm for the Budweiser Clydesdales.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.21 square miles (18.67 km2), of which, 6.89 square miles (17.85 km2) is land and 0.32 square miles (0.83 km2) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 2,326
1860 2,596 11.6%
1870 3,506 35.1%
1880 3,854 9.9%
1890 4,141 7.4%
1900 4,377 5.7%
1910 4,252 −2.9%
1920 4,665 9.7%
1930 6,435 37.9%
1940 6,089 −5.4%
1950 6,686 9.8%
1960 7,090 6.0%
1970 7,514 6.0%
1980 6,959 −7.4%
1990 7,095 2.0%
2000 8,202 15.6%
2010 8,319 1.4%
2019 (est.) 8,439 1.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Boonville Racial Composition
Race Num. Perc.
White 6,255 78.54%
Black or African American 839 10.53%
Native American 29 0.36%
Asian 46 0.58%
Pacific Islander 2 0.03%
Other/Mixed 587 7.37%
Hispanic or Latino 206 2.59%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 7,964 people, 3,013 households, and 1,775 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 8,319 people, 2,918 households, and 1,787 families living in the city. The population density was 1,207.4 inhabitants per square mile (466.2/km2). There were 3,294 housing units at an average density of 478.1 per square mile (184.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.1% White, 13.3% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population.

There were 2,918 households, of which 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.9% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.8% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.94.

The median age in the city was 34.6 years. 20.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 12.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.9% were from 25 to 44; 23.4% were from 45 to 64; and 14.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 55.2% male and 44.8% female.


Boonville is near the middle of the Katy Trail, a 225-mile state park enjoyed by cyclists and hikers. Katy Trail Bridge in Boonville, which crosses the Missouri near the Isle of Capri Casino and Historic Selwyn Shoe Factory (which has been refurnished as apartments), has been subject of controversy. The railroad would like the bridge to be taken down so the metal can be melted and reused. However, Friends of Historic Boonville and others across the state oppose the idea.

Annually, Boonville celebrates Boonville Heritage Days. This is a summer weekend event that focuses on heritage. Activities include a parade, craft booths, a carnival and much fun for people of all ages. On the last evening there is a fireworks show.

Other annual events include the Festival of the Leaves, which is held on the last Saturday in September, and The Festival of The Lights, which is held every Thursday night in September. Shops stay open late, and there are booths with food, free stuff, and games. The historic Thespian Hall, located downtown, is used for concerts, art shows, and plays.

The annual Halloween parade features the award-winning Boonville Silver Pirate Band dressed up in a variety of costumes.

Twillman Field in Harley Park is also a source of some pride, as it hosts several baseball tournaments every year, including state and regional championships, with ages ranging from 13 to 18. At one time in the late 1980s through 1990s, it was considered by some to be the 3rd best baseball field in the state, trailing only the Major League parks in St. Louis and Kansas City.


The Boonville R-1 School District has four schools. Hannah Cole Elementary, David Barton Elementary, Laura Speed Elliott (LSE) Middle School, and Boonville High School are all located in Boonville. The superintendent of schools is Dr. Sarah Marriott and the school mascot is the Pirates.

There is also a parochial PreK-8th school Sts. Peter and Paul, which was established in the 1850s and has the Warriors as their mascot.

Boonville has a public library, a branch of the Boonslick Regional Library.

Notable people

  • George Ainslie, Congressional delegate from Idaho Territory.
  • Nathaniel Albertson, U.S. Congressman from Indiana
  • Cathy Barton, folk music singer and musician
  • Henry S. Benedict, U.S. Congressman from California
  • Bill Corum, New York sportswriter and sportscaster and Churchill Downs racetrack president, attended school in Boonville.
  • John Cosgrove, U.S. Congressman from Missouri
  • Don Dee, basketball player
  • Sara Evans, country music singer and songwriter
  • Colonel Arthur M. Hitch, Superintendent of Kemper Military School, 1928–1948.
  • Colonel Thomas A. Johnston, Builder of Kemper Military School, Superintendent and President from 1881 to 1928.
  • Frederick T. Kemper, founder of school later known as Kemper Military School
  • Carl Lachmund, classical pianist
  • Julia Lee, blues singer and pianist
  • Julius and William Manger, founders of Manger Hotels
  • Bob and Bill Meistrell, inventors of the Body Glove
  • John Gaines Miller, U.S. Congressman from Missouri
  • Henry L. Myers, U.S. Senator from Montana
  • Theron Moses Rice, U.S. Congressman from Missouri
  • Joseph Franklin Rutherford (Founder of Jehovah's Witnesses and 2nd President of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society) Other references list his birthplace as Versailles, Missouri
  • Doc Quigg, journalist
  • Lon Vest Stephens, Governor of Missouri and State Treasurer
  • Minus Story (band)
  • James Milton Turner, educator and diplomat who helped establish Sumner School
  • George Graham Vest, U.S. Senator from Missouri
  • Florence Warfield Sillers, historian and socialite
  • Walter Williams, founder of the Missouri School of Journalism and former president of the University of Missouri.
  • Robert Patterson Clark Wilson, U.S. Congressman from Missouri
  • C.T. Vivian, American writer and civil rights activist

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Boonville (Misuri) para niños

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