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Centralia, Missouri
City of Centralia
Chatol, the A.B. Chance Guest House
Chatol, the A.B. Chance Guest House
Anchor City or Prairie Queen
Location of Centralia, Missouri
Location of Centralia, Missouri
Country United States
State Missouri
Counties Audrain, Boone
 • Total 2.86 sq mi (7.40 km2)
 • Land 2.86 sq mi (7.40 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
883 ft (269 m)
 • Total 4,027
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,494.92/sq mi (577.27/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 573
FIPS code 29-12898
GNIS feature ID 0715695

Centralia is a city in Boone County in the U.S. state of Missouri. The population was 4,027 at the 2010 census, with an estimated population of 4,244 in 2018. A very small portion of the city lies in Audrain County.

The Boone County portion of Centralia (which forms the majority of the city) is part of the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area, while a small part in Audrain County is part of the Mexico Micropolitan Statistical Area.


Centralia is located at 39°12′35″N 92°8′11″W / 39.20972°N 92.13639°W / 39.20972; -92.13639 (39.209657, -92.136300). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.84 square miles (7.36 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 703
1890 1,275 81.4%
1900 1,722 35.1%
1910 2,116 22.9%
1920 2,071 −2.1%
1930 2,009 −3.0%
1940 1,996 −0.6%
1950 2,460 23.2%
1960 3,200 30.1%
1970 3,623 13.2%
1980 3,537 −2.4%
1990 3,414 −3.5%
2000 3,774 10.5%
2010 4,027 6.7%
2019 (est.) 4,271 6.1%

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 4,027 people, 1,601 households, and 1,063 families living in the city. The population density was 1,418.0 inhabitants per square mile (547.5/km2). There were 1,755 housing units at an average density of 618.0 per square mile (238.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.5% White, 1.0% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.6% of the population.

There were 1,601 households, of which 36.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.6% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.01.

The median age in the city was 38 years. 26.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.5% were from 25 to 44; 23% were from 45 to 64; and 17.7% were 66 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.5% male and 53.5% female.


Centralia was laid out in 1857. It was named from its central location on the North Missouri Railroad from St. Louis to Ottumwa, Iowa, and from the fact that it was located near the center of a vast prairie between Mexico and Huntsville, and between Columbia and Paris.

On September 27, 1864, 22 unarmed Union soldiers returning home on leave were pulled from a train in Centralia and executed by Confederate bushwhackers under William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson. The incident came to be known as the Centralia Massacre.

Registered Historic Places

The following Centralia locations have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

  • Albert Bishop Chance House and Gardens
  • Chatol


The Centralia R-VI School District operates four schools: Chance Elementary School (grades PK-2), Centralia Intermediate School (grades 3-5), Chester Boren Middle School (grades 6-8), and Centralia High School (grades 9-12). Centralia Intermediate School is the newest building of the four, having opened for classes in August 2009. It was constructed in order to deal with the district's increasing enrollment. This new technology-rich building contains 15 classrooms, each with 12 computers.

The town has a lending library, the Centralia Public Library.

Notable people

  • Albert Bishop Chance, inventor of the earth anchor, mayor, and founder of the A.B. Chance Company.
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