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De Soto, Missouri
De Soto, Missouri.jpg
Location of De Soto, Missouri
Location of De Soto, Missouri
Country United States
State Missouri
County Jefferson
Incorporated 1869
 • Total 4.38 sq mi (11.35 km2)
 • Land 4.38 sq mi (11.35 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
528 ft (161 m)
 • Total 6,400
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,447.64/sq mi (558.96/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 636 314
FIPS code 29-19252
GNIS feature ID 0716761

De Soto is a city in Jefferson County, Missouri, United States. The population was 6,400 at the 2010 census and the city is part of the St. Louis metropolitan area. The Van Metre family were first to settle in 1803. The town was organized in 1857 and is named for the explorer Hernando De Soto, who claimed the Louisiana Territory for Spain. De Soto was the city closest to the mean center of U.S. population in 1980. The city celebrated its Bicentennial in 2003. The city made national news on and after May 6, 2003, when straight-line winds and a tornado struck.


De Soto was platted in 1857, and named after Hernando de Soto (c. 1496/1497–1542), Spanish conquistador. A post office has been in operation at De Soto since 1858.

The city is known as "Fountain City" because of the numerous artesian wells. Water from these wells and springs was bottled and shipped by tank car to the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis.

The Central School Campus and Louis J. and Harriet Rozier House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tornado Activity

On 12/21/1967, a category F4 tornado 16.8 miles away from the city center killed 3 people and injured 52 people and caused between $500,000 and $5,000,000 in damages.

On 6/22/1969, a category F4 (max. wind speeds 207-260 mph) tornado 13.5 miles away from the De Soto city center killed 2 people and injured 22 people and caused between $500,000 and $5,000,000 in damages.

On 4/22/1981, a tornado destroyed the Joachim Savings & Loan, the offices of the Republic and Press newspaper, and a tire store. One person was killed in the Savings & Loan.

On May 6, 2003 around 3:45pm, a tornado outbreak broke in Kansas, Missouri & Tennessee. At 5:14pm, a tornado touched-down 2 miles northwest of De Soto. 14 minutes later, the tornado sirens went off inside Jefferson County. The tornado hit De Soto as an EF-3, causing $12,800,000 in damage. The tornado destroyed the Junior High gymnasium, caused significant damage to the High School and Vineland Elementary, destroyed 58 houses & a local grocery store. It injured 23 and killed 9 inside De Soto.

Local Attractions

  • Melba Theater
  • De Soto Public Library
  • Spross Park
  • Walther's Park
  • Richter Park


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.30 square miles (11.14 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,989
1890 3,960 99.1%
1900 5,611 41.7%
1910 4,721 −15.9%
1920 5,003 6.0%
1930 5,069 1.3%
1940 5,121 1.0%
1950 5,357 4.6%
1960 5,804 8.3%
1970 5,984 3.1%
1980 5,993 0.2%
1990 5,993 0.0%
2000 6,375 6.4%
2010 6,400 0.4%
2019 (est.) 6,345 −0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 6,400 people, 2,629 households, and 1,633 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,488.4 inhabitants per square mile (574.7/km2). There were 2,927 housing units at an average density of 680.7 per square mile (262.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.8% White, 1.6% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.

There were 2,629 households, of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.0% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.9% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.97.

The median age in the city was 36.8 years. 24.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26% were from 25 to 44; 24.2% were from 45 to 64; 16.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.2% male and 52.8% female.


The local economy is fueled by Union Pacific Railroad which operates a car repair shop on the east side of Main Street. Wal-Mart and De Soto School District #73 are the largest employers.


Public schools are run by the De Soto School District #73:

  • De Soto Senior High School
  • De Soto Junior High
  • Vineland Elementary
  • Athena Elementary

St. Rose of Lima School is the only private school in town run by St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.

The closest institution of higher education is in Hillsboro, Missouri at Jefferson College.

The town has a lending library, the De Soto Public Library.

Notable people

  • Jay Nixon, 55th Governor of Missouri and former state Attorney General
  • Mel Bay, musician, music teacher, and publisher of music instructional manuals and sheet music
  • Thomas Clement Fletcher, Governor of Missouri
  • Whitey Ford, comedian known as "The Duke of Paducah"
  • Michael H. Hall, Wisconsin State Assemblyman
  • Juanita Hamel, newspaper illustrator and writer
  • Burdette Johnson, numismatist
  • William E. Lewis, Missouri state representative
  • Frank Wilcox, actor

See also

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

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