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King City, Missouri
Big Pump and wind farm in the Tri-County Historical Park
Big Pump and wind farm in the Tri-County Historical Park
Location of King City, Missouri
Location of King City, Missouri
U.S. Census Map
U.S. Census Map
Country United States
State Missouri
County Gentry
 • Total 1.38 sq mi (3.58 km2)
 • Land 1.38 sq mi (3.58 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,112 ft (339 m)
 • Total 799
 • Estimate 
 • Density 717.80/sq mi (277.17/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 660
FIPS code 29-38774
GNIS feature ID 0720609

King City is a city in southwest Gentry County, Missouri, United States. The population was 799 at the 2020 census.


John Pittsenbarger was the first European settler when he set up a tent in town in 1856. His application to name the town Petersburg was rejected because there was already a town of that name in Boone County, Missouri. According to local legend, the United States Postmaster General submitted his name. The Postmaster General at the time was Horatio King, (although the local history refers to Rufus King)

The town became a stop on the St. Joseph and Des Moines Railway in 1878. The railway eventually became part of the Burlington Northern network and is currently abandoned.

In the first half of the 20th century, King City was the heart of a Kentucky bluegrass seed harvesting region stretching from Kearney, Missouri through King City to Maitland, Missouri, which claimed to harvest more bluegrass seeds than the entire state of Kentucky with King City resident John Weller claiming to be the "King of Blue Grass Raisers.". Bluegrass seed production moved to the farming areas of the Pacific Northwest in the 1950s.

In the 1990s, the Big Pump, a 25-foot (7.6 m) high building resembling an electric gasoline pump, was moved from Maryville, Missouri to King City. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. Rufus Limpp, an oil jobber who built the station, is from King City (the Limpp Community Lake by King City is also named for him). The Big Pump is located on the Tri-County Museum grounds.

King City has only one grocery store, McCrea's, a family operated business started by Dean and Virginia McCrea. They have owned the store for more than 50 years, and Mr. McCrea still works there every day.

One prominent former King Citian was celebrated children's author Clyde Robert Bulla, who died in 2007 while living in Warrensburg, Missouri.

In 2006, St. Louis, Missouri-based Wind Capital Group began operation of 27 windmills a mile north of King City. The Bluegrass Ridge Wind Farm is the first commercial electric windmill operation in the state. Its windmills are 300 feet (91 m) high. The windfarm name celebrates the region's bluegrass heritage.

The Opera Hall Block was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.


King City is located at 40°3′6″N 94°31′22″W / 40.05167°N 94.52278°W / 40.05167; -94.52278 (40.051672, -94.522867). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.38 square miles (3.57 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 196
1890 622 217.3%
1900 905 45.5%
1910 966 6.7%
1920 1,150 19.0%
1930 1,101 −4.3%
1940 1,103 0.2%
1950 1,031 −6.5%
1960 1,009 −2.1%
1970 1,023 1.4%
1980 1,063 3.9%
1990 986 −7.2%
2000 1,012 2.6%
2010 1,013 0.1%
2019 (est.) 992 −2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,013 people, 411 households, and 266 families residing in the city. The population density was 734.1 inhabitants per square mile (283.4/km2). There were 465 housing units at an average density of 337.0 per square mile (130.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.4% White, 0.1% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.1% of the population.

There were 411 households, of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.3% were non-families. 30.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.5% 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 40 years. 25.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.9% were from 25 to 44; 21.5% were from 45 to 64; and 20.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.4% male and 53.6% female.


University of Missouri standout and NFL Hall of Famer Roger Wehrli of the former St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals is an alumnus of King City High School. King City's football field is named Wehrli Field after him. Currently, committees are engaging in raising funds for the purpose of upgrading the track.


There are two schools, an elementary and junior high/high school, both named King City R-1. The schools consisted of neighboring buildings for many years, until a fire confined both schools into a single building while a new high school was constructed. In a subsequent remodeling, the two separate buildings were joined with a classroom/hallway addition. They have finished construction; making a new Ag building and more classrooms in both the High School and Elementary.

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