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Downing, Missouri
Historic Downing railroad depot
Historic Downing railroad depot
Location of Downing, Missouri
Location of Downing, Missouri
Country United States
State Missouri
County Schuyler
 • Total 0.66 sq mi (1.72 km2)
 • Land 0.66 sq mi (1.71 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.01 km2)
873 ft (266 m)
 • Total 300
 • Density 454.55/sq mi (174.42/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 660
FIPS code 29-19990
GNIS feature ID 0735581

Downing is a city in Schuyler County, Missouri, United States. As of the 2020 census, its population was 300. It is part of the Kirksville Micropolitan Statistical Area.


Downing Mo Jail
Downing Jail. No longer in use.

Although not being laid out as a town until 1872, the Downing area was one of the earliest settled areas of Schuyler county, with Henry Downing building a home and claiming land a few miles south of the area around 1837. It was also near present-day Downing that the first school in the county was established. In the spring of 1841 a crude log cabin was built for use as a school not far from Henry Downings home and Miss Esther Hathaway employed as teacher. One of the early names for the unincorporated settlement was Cherry Grove.

During the American Civil War, on July 1, 1862, a small skirmish took place near Cherry Grove. Cavalry from the second battalion, Eleventh Missouri State Militia, a pro-Union force, engaged a small number of Confederate troops under Colonel Joseph C. Porter. Porter's outnumbered forces were defeated, with four killed and several men and horses captured. The Union forces had one man badly injured, who would die a few days later. At the time of the skirmish Porter was heavily involved in recruiting men in northeast Missouri for the Confederate cause. The following month he would suffer a larger defeat some twenty-five miles southwest at the Battle of Kirksville.

In September, 1872 the Missouri Town Company created the original town plat, naming it for the President of the company, H. H. Downing. Land for the town, the railroad right of way, and depot were donated by James Prime, and the Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska Railway constructed the depot in April, 1872. By the late 1880s the Downing business district included four general stores, two drug stores, two grocers, two hardware stores, a restaurant, blacksmith, and two hotels. Manufacturing included two handle factories, a wagon maker, a hoop factory, a harness and saddle maker, and two combination saw/grist mills. One doesn't normally think of northern Missouri as being a tobacco-growing region, however Downing had two tobacco-buying warehouses in the late 1800s with both reporting extensive business. At its peak in 1902, over 155,000 pounds of tobacco were dealt through the Downing warehouses. The towns location on the Keokuk & Western railroad provided opportunity for the convenient shipment of goods, crops, and livestock from the Downing area.

The Downing Railroad Depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and now serves as a museum. The depot was moved approximately 1/4 mile from its original trackside location and now serves as the centerpiece of a city park with other nearby buildings, including the former Downing jail.


Downing is located at 40°29′16″N 92°22′5″W / 40.48778°N 92.36806°W / 40.48778; -92.36806 (40.487682, -92.368022).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.67 square miles (1.74 km2), of which, 0.66 square miles (1.71 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 152
1890 406 167.1%
1900 501 23.4%
1910 513 2.4%
1920 566 10.3%
1930 514 −9.2%
1940 507 −1.4%
1950 453 −10.7%
1960 463 2.2%
1970 406 −12.3%
1980 462 13.8%
1990 359 −22.3%
2000 396 10.3%
2010 335 −15.4%
2020 300 −10.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 335 people, 160 households, and 90 families residing in the city. The population density was 507.6 inhabitants per square mile (196.0/km2). There were 195 housing units at an average density of 295.5 per square mile (114.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.6% White, 0.3% Asian, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.6% of the population.

There were 160 households, of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.8% were non-families. 40.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.79.

The median age in the city was 44.8 years. 20% of residents were under the age of 18; 10% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20.7% were from 25 to 44; 27.3% were from 45 to 64; and 22.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.8% male and 52.2% female.

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