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Pulaski County, Missouri facts for kids

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Pulaski County
Old and new Pulaski County courthouses in Waynesville
Old and new Pulaski County courthouses in Waynesville
Map of Missouri highlighting Pulaski County
Location within the U.S. state of Missouri
Map of the United States highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Missouri
Founded January 19, 1833
Named for Kazimierz Pułaski
Seat Waynesville
Largest community Fort Leonard Wood
 • Total 551 sq mi (1,430 km2)
 • Land 547 sq mi (1,420 km2)
 • Water 4.4 sq mi (11 km2)  0.8%
 • Total 52,274
 • Estimate 
 • Density 94.87/sq mi (36.63/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 4th

Pulaski County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 52,274. Its county seat is Waynesville. The county was organized in 1833 and named for Kazimierz Pułaski, a Polish patriot who died fighting in the American Revolution.

Pulaski County is the site of Fort Leonard Wood, a U.S. Army training base. It comprises the Fort Leonard Wood, MO Micropolitan Statistical Area which has nearly one-third of the total county population.


Pulaski County's earliest settlers were the Quapaw, Missouria and Osage Native Americans. After the Lewis and Clark Expedition of the early 19th century, white settlers came to the area, many from Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas; the earliest pioneers appeared to have settled as early as 1818, and the town of Waynesville was designated the county seat by the Missouri Legislature in 1833. Like the county, Waynesville is also named after an American Revolutionary hero, Mad Anthony Wayne.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 551 square miles (1,430 km2), of which 547 square miles (1,420 km2) is land and 4.4 square miles (11 km2) (0.8%) is water.

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 6,529
1850 3,998 −38.8%
1860 3,835 −4.1%
1870 4,714 22.9%
1880 7,250 53.8%
1890 9,387 29.5%
1900 10,394 10.7%
1910 11,438 10.0%
1920 10,490 −8.3%
1930 10,755 2.5%
1940 10,775 0.2%
1950 10,392 −3.6%
1960 46,567 348.1%
1970 53,781 15.5%
1980 42,011 −21.9%
1990 41,307 −1.7%
2000 41,165 −0.3%
2010 52,274 27.0%
2020 53,955 3.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2015

As of the census of 2000, there were 41,165 people, 13,433 households, and 9,953 families residing in the county. The population density was 75 people per square mile (29/km2). There were 15,408 housing units at an average density of 28 per square mile (11/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 78.35% White, 11.99% Black or African American, 1.00% Native American, 2.27% Asian, 0.32% Pacific Islander, 2.50% from other races, and 3.57% from two or more races. Approximately 5.84% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 13,433 households, out of which 42.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.60% were married couples living together, 9.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.90% were non-families. 21.60% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 27.50% under the age of 18, 16.60% from 18 to 24, 32.00% from 25 to 44, 15.90% from 45 to 64, and 7.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 112.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $34,247, and the median income for a family was $37,786. Males had a median income of $26,553 versus $20,500 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,586. About 8.00% of families and 10.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.40% of those under age 18 and 12.30% of those age 65 or over.



Waynesville Regional Airport at Forney Field serves the community with air service; even though it's on Fort Leonard Wood, it is jointly run by the cities of Waynesville and St. Robert and is available for civilian use by private pilots and scheduled commercial passenger service. The City of Richland also has an "Unmanned" Airport that consists of a 3000 ft runway.

Major highways

The major east–west route is I-44 (MO).svg Interstate 44; before that, the main highway was US 66.svg U.S. Route 66, which still exists as a scenic route through the area and passes through Devil's Elbow, St. Robert, Waynesville, Buckhorn, and Hazelgreen. Names for U.S. Route 66 vary - at different places, it's called Teardrop Road, Highway Z, Old Route 66, Historic Route 66, and Highway 17. State-posted signs mark most of the alignment of the road.

Major north–south routes include:

  • MO-133.svg Highway 133 runs north from Interstate 44 exit 145 about two miles east of Hazelgreen to Richland, Swedeborg, Crocker, and about two miles west of Dixon, then north out of the county.
  • MO-7.svg Highway 7 runs north from Interstate 44 exit 150 about three miles west of Buckhorn to Richland, then north out of the county toward the Lake of the Ozarks region.
  • MO-17.svg Highway 17 crosses Interstate 44 at exit 153 at Buckhorn, runs east through Waynesville, turns north to Crocker, and then runs north out of the county to Iberia. South of Interstate 44, Highway 17 hugs the western edge of Fort Leonard Wood, passes near Laquey, and circles south of the post until it runs out of the county and eventually joins Highway 32 in Roby.
  • MO-supp-T.svg Missouri T runs north from Highway 17 at Waynesville to Swedeborg, where it meets and ends at Highway 133 about halfway between Richland and Crocker.
  • MO-28.svg Highway 28 crosses Interstate 44 at exit 163 at the eastern edge of St. Robert, runs north through Dixon, and then runs north out of the county.
  • A secondary road parallels Highway 28, beginning as Missouri Y at exit 161 of Interstate 44 in St. Robert, running north to the Gasconade River bridge where it becomes the county-maintained Cave Road and turning north as Highway O until it meets Highway 28 a few miles south of Dixon.

Major attractions along U.S. Route 66 include the Old Stagecoach Stop in downtown Waynesville, which is now a museum but began as a tavern and boarding house and is the oldest standing structure in the county. It was used as a Civil War hospital for Union troops who were garrisoned above the city in Fort Wayne, which was demolished after the war. The Old Courthouse Museum in downtown Waynesville is near the Old Stagecoach Stop. The third Pulaski County courthouse was struck by lightning on June 3, 1903, and destroyed. Three bridges cross the Big Piney River at Devil's Elbow - the modern Interstate 44 bridge, the later U.S. Route 66 alignment on Highway Z that was made possible by the Hooker Cut through a steep hillside, and the original U.S. Route 66 alignment on Teardrop Road that includes a historic bridge that is in the process of renovation. The Elbow Inn is a biker bar that is a frequent stop on the original U.S. Route 66 alignment.



Census-designated place

Unincorporated places


Fort Leonard Wood is in Pulaski County and a high percentage of military personnel live off post in surrounding communities, especially St. Robert and Waynesville but also the farther-out cities of Richland, Crocker, and Dixon, and the unincorporated communities of Laquey, Swedeborg and Devil's Elbow, all of which have a lower housing cost than nearer housing in St. Robert and Waynesville. Military personnel assigned to training areas on the south end of the post sometimes choose to live in the unincorporated areas of Big Piney and Palace in Pulaski County, or the northern Texas County communities of Plato and Roby.

Seven main school districts are fully or partly within the borders of Pulaski County, not counting two small districts which are mostly within other counties and only have only a few dozen residents within Pulaski County. All seven school districts have a high percentage of Fort Leonard Wood military dependents, and over two-thirds of Waynesville students fall into that category.

The cities of Waynesville and St. Robert and the Fort Leonard Wood army installation, along with their surrounding rural areas running east to Devil's Elbow, are served by the Waynesville R-VI School District which is by far the largest in the county.

The cities of Richland, Crocker, and Dixon, along with their surrounding rural areas, are served by the Richland R-IV School District, the Crocker R-II School District and the Dixon R-I School District. The Richland and Dixon districts both extend into rural parts of adjacent counties.

The unincorporated communities of Laquey and Swedeborg are served by the Laquey R-V School District and the Swedeborg R-III School District. Swedeborg is the county's last remaining K-8 district and most of its high school students attend Richland High School though some attend Crocker High School or Waynesville High School; all other districts serve students running from kindergarten through high school.

The areas south of Fort Leonard Wood, including the unincorporated Pulaski County communities of Big Piney and Palace, is served by the Plato R-V School District, which is based in the northern Texas County village of Plato but also includes parts of Pulaski, Laclede and Wright counties.

Public schools

    • Crocker Elementary School (PK-06)
    • Crocker High School (07-12)
    • Dixon Elementary School (PK-05)
    • Dixon Middle School (06-08)
    • Dixon High School (09-12)
    • Laquey Elementary School (PK-05)
    • Laquey Middle School (06-08)
    • Laquey High School (09-12)
  • Swedeborg R-VIII School District – Swedeborg
    • Swedeborg Elementary School (PK-08)
    • Richland Elementary School (K-06)
    • Richland Junior High School (07-08)
    • Richland High School (09-12)
    • Williams Early Childhood Center (PK) – Ft. Leonard Wood
    • East Elementary School (K-05) - Waynesville
    • Freedom Elementary School (K-05) – St. Robert
    • Partridge Elementary School (K-05) – Ft. Leonard Wood
    • Thayer Elementary School (K-05) – Ft. Leonard Wood
    • Wood Elementary School (K-05) – Ft. Leonard Wood
    • Waynesville Sixth Grade Center (06) — Waynesville
    • Waynesville Middle School (07-08) — Waynesville
    • Waynesville High School (09-12) — Waynesville

Private schools

Public libraries

  • Pulaski County Library
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