Sikeston, Missouri facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Location of Sikeston, Missouri
|Counties||Scott, New Madrid|
|• Total||17.48 sq mi (45.27 km2)|
|• Land||17.32 sq mi (44.86 km2)|
|• Water||0.16 sq mi (0.41 km2)|
|Elevation||328 ft (100 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Density||942.1/sq mi (363.7/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0726435|
Sikeston is a city located both in southern Scott County and northern New Madrid County, in the U.S. state of Missouri. It is situated just north of the "Missouri Bootheel", although many locals consider Sikeston a part of it.
The city is named after John Sikes, who founded it in 1860. It is the principal city of the Sikeston Micropolitan Statistical Area, which consists of all of Scott County, and has a total population of 41,143.
As of the 2010 census, the city population was 16,318, making it the fourth-most populous city in Missouri's 8th Congressional district.
Sikeston is located at(36.879570, -89.585172).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.48 square miles (45.27 km2), of which 17.32 square miles (44.86 km2) is land and 0.16 square miles (0.41 km2) is water. The city is situated upon the Sikeston Ridge which runs north and south from 10 miles (16 km) north of Sikeston through New Madrid. Prior to 1927, the New Madrid-Sikeston Ridge Levee was constructed to protect the area from flooding from the Mississippi River. In the 1920s, the Little River Drainage District was formed to drain the low land area west of the Sikeston Ridge. By 1931, the levee construction had created the New Madrid floodway.
As of the census of 2010, there were 16,318 people, 6,749 households, and 4,326 families residing in the city. The population density was 942.1 inhabitants per square mile (363.7/km2). There were 7,289 housing units at an average density of 420.8 per square mile (162.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 69.95% White, 26.20% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.85% Asian, 0.04% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.80% from other races, and 2.01% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.32% of the population.
The first explorers and settlers came to a region of cypress swamps and forested prairies. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Little River Drainage District was formed to reclaim the land. This was the world's largest drainage project, moving more earth than completed during the construction of the Panama Canal.
In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto may have stood upon the Sikeston Ridge, although some historical references dispute this, believing that he traveled further south than Sikeston. The area was claimed by the French as part of La Louisiane, and they ceded it in 1763 to the Spanish after being defeated by Britain in the Seven Years' War. In 1789, by order of the King of Spain, an overland route was laid out to connect the cities of St. Louis and New Orleans. This frontier road was known as the El Camino Real or King's Highway.
In 1803 the United States acquired this area under the Louisiana Purchase. More Americans began to settle west of the river. From December 16, 1811 to February 4, 1812, the area was struck by the 1811–12 New Madrid earthquakes (a series of more than 2,000 events). They are believed by some to have been the greatest in North American history.
The Hunter Memorial Cemetery, located on the grounds of the local Presbyterian Church, was established around 1812 after the New Madrid earthquake by Joseph Hunter II who served under George Rogers Clark during the Revolutionary War and on the Territorial Council for President Madison. In 1814, the village of Winchester was laid out about one-half a mile south of the future site of Sikeston. It was the seat of justice for New Madrid County, but after the county seat was moved in 1822 to New Madrid, Winchester became defunct and abandoned. The Winchester jail was completed in 1817 and was used until December 1821, when Scott County was organized.
The land for the city of Sikeston was first owned by Frenchman Francis Paquette. In 1829, the city site was acquired by the Stallcup family. In 1859, city founder John Sikes, who had married into the Stallcup family, gained control of the land. In April 1860, he had the city platted in anticipation of the completion of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad, which would intersect with the King's Highway. In the city of New Madrid, the street was known as Big Prairie Road, and later as Sikeston Road after the city of Sikeston was established.
Today Kingshighway, also known as Business U.S. Highway 61, serves Sikeston as a primary north–south street. It is lined with businesses and older historic homes. Sikeston's downtown area includes Malone Park, the city's oldest park, and the historic First Methodist Church columns. These six pillars are all that remain of the 1879 church which was destroyed in 1968 by fire.
The first house in Sikeston is believed to have been located at 318 Baker Lane. The "Baker House" was probably built in 1855, about five years before the town was founded. One of the early inhabitants of this house was Lee Hunter, for whom one of the elementary schools is named. The house once had a large barn, located on the site where Lee Hunter school was later built. The Baker family moved into the house in 1888 and purchased it from the Hunter family in the early 1950s.
Civil War era
Although Sikeston was a small village during the Civil War, its position at the railroad and highway intersection gave it strategic significance. Around July 1861, Confederate forces of Brigadier General Gideon Johnson Pillow planned to link up with units commanded by Sterling Price and Benjamin McCulloch for an advance on St. Louis, using the Sikeston-area road of Kingshighway. In preparation for this advance, Confederate General Jeff Thompson gathered Missouri state troops and irregulars near Sikeston; he robbed a bank in nearby Charleston to pay men and buy arms and supplies. Legend has it that he hid part of his money in Sikeston under one of the oak trees at the corner of New Madrid Street and Kingshighway.
In the fall of 1861, General Pillow pushed a column of troops from New Madrid towards Sikeston and Cape Girardeau. On October 4, Confederate General Jeff Thompson reached Sikeston, planning to strike Cape Girardeau; however, his manpower was limited, and he decided to retreat into the swamps off to the west. On November 3, from Cairo, Illinois, US Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant wrote a letter to Colonel Richard J. Oglesby, commander of the Union Headquarters District Southeast Missouri at Bird’s Point, ordering his troops to "strike for Sikeston" from the Mississippi River town of Commerce. Brigadier General Benjamin Prentiss and Colonel W. H. L. Wallace also converged in the Sikeston area in preparation of Grant's attack at the Battle of Belmont.
In 1862, Sikeston was used as a transportation connection as Union Brigadier General Pope sent his artillery across the river to Commerce, Missouri, to be sent by rail to Sikeston for cart transportation to New Madrid, in preparation for the Battle of Island Number Ten. On February 28, 1862, Pope left Commerce with his army of 12,000, arriving in Sikeston on March 2. US Colonel William Pitt Kellogg, future governor of Louisiana, commanding the 7th Illinois cavalry, was the first to encounter the rebel sabotage of recently burned bridges and other obstructions. The federals were attacked just south of Sikeston by a small group of rebels led by General Thompson (he was called the Swamp Fox, a nickname after the Revolutionary War Brigadier General Francis Marion). Thompson commanded a detachment of 85 horsemen and four to six experimental cannons that had been manufactured in Memphis. Seeing that Colonel James Morgan's Illinois troops were reinforced by Brigadier General Schuyler Hamilton's 2nd Division, Thompson fled.
Entering the area from Bird's Point, Brigadier General Eleazor Arthur Paine, commander of the 4th Division of Army of the Mississippi, repaired the railroad and telegraph lines and used troops from Illinois to form a garrison for Sikeston, Bertrand, and Charleston. War records indicate that on March 31, 1862, there were six Union officers and 143 Union soldiers present in Sikeston. On September 22, 1864, during Price's Raid, a Confederate force of 1,500 men near Sikeston, under the command of Colonel William Lafayette Jeffers, attacked Captain Lewis Sells' company of Union soldiers who were moving from Cape Girardeau to reinforce two companies of soldiers in Bloomfield.
Post Civil War era
One of the first rail lines west of the Mississippi River ran to Sikeston, and it was the terminus of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad until 1872. By 1900, Sikeston had a population of 1,100, and two drainage ditches had been completed. By this time, the city had two banks, two newspapers, and three hotels. One of the hotels built between 1895 and 1898 was a three-story brick hotel later known as the Mashall-Dunn Hotel. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Prominent individuals who stayed at this hotel included Harry S. Truman, Alben W. Barkley, and Tom Pendergast.
World Wars era
During World War I, an infantry company was organized in Sikeston on August 25, 1917 until the spring of 1919. Company K became part of the 140th Infantry, 70th Brigade, U.S. 35th Infantry Division and fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. It also served as part of the occupation force of Europe. In 1920, American Legion Post 114 was chartered for the community of Sikeston and named after Henry Meldrun, a Sikeston native who was killed in Europe during World War I. Between the two world wars, Company K was reorganized. The company helped secure rail centers during the railroad workers' strike of 1922, helped out with the aftermath of the Poplar Bluff tornado of 1927, and worked on the Mississippi River levees during the floods of 1927 and 1937. In 1941, Company K was sent to Camp Joseph T. Robinson, near Little Rock, where they drilled for eight months.
The Sikeston Memorial Municipal Airport was built in the 1930s, opening in July 1934. From 1940 until 1944, it was known as Harvey Parks Airport. Long barrack-style buildings were constructed to hold the Missouri Institute of Aeronautics, established after General Hap Arnold asked flight training operations to triple their enrollments. The first U.S. Army Air Corps inspection officials arrived in July 1940 with the first flight cadet arriving that September. In June 1940, a home at West Gladys and New Madrid streets was transformed into a district infirmary in coordination with the building of the new air barracks. World War II flying aces Robert S. Johnson and Harold E. Comstock trained at this location. The original gated entrance to Harvey Parks Airport now serves as the entrance to the city's Veterans Park.
During World War II, local National Guard unit Company K was assigned to the Western Defense Command in California. Sikeston-area students helped raise money to have three B-25 bomber named the Spirit of Sikeston, "the Sikeston Bulldog", and one other. These three planes were supposedly used in the Doolittle Raid, during which they went down and are at the bottom of the Pacific between Japan and China. The local International Shoe factory had a contract for a major shoe order for the US Army during the war.
Post World War era
Following World War II, Miner was founded as the next city. The city was first known as Minner, in honor of one of the original residing landowners. However, the name was altered when the railroad inadvertently omitted an "n" from the switching station, renaming it Miner Switch. In 1951, the city became incorporated due to modern-day pioneer William Howard McGill.
In 2000, the remains of Mason Yarbrough, a Sikeston native and World War II marine, were found in the Pacific area on Makin Island and returned to his hometown for a military funeral. The George E. Day Parkway is named for Medal of Honor winner Colonel George E. "Bud" Day, a F-100 Super Sabre pilot who is the only known American POW to escape into South Vietnam. He was later recaptured and sent to the Hanoi Hilton.
Sikeston is home to the Missouri National Guard unit Company C 1140th Engineer Battalion, which took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom from February 2004 until February 2005. Company C has been restructured from an engineering unit to a detachment of the 1221st Transportation Company, headquartered in Dexter, Missouri.
On May 6, 1933, Robert Wadlow, tallest known person in history, visited Sikeston as his size 32 shoes were made at the Sikeston International Shoe Company plant.
On May 17, 1946, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr., father of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, died outside Sikeston on U.S. Route 60 after being thrown from his car and drowning in a drainage ditch. This occurred three months before Bill Clinton's birth.
In August 1957, D. N. Jackson debated Guy N. Woods in Sikeston.
On April 1, 1965, Ronald Reagan was the guest speaker for the Sikeston Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet and was presented an “Honorary Cotton Picker of Southeast Missouri” plaque, perhaps as part of an April Fools' Day joke.
On May 27, 2004, Naomi Betts, a criminal who robbed a bank in Indianapolis, was arrested in Sikeston, following an airing of an episode of America's Most Wanted.
On April 26, 2006, the national commander of the American Legion, Thomas L. Bock, visited Sikeston to speak to American Legion Post 114.
On February 22, 2014, columnist and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson spoke at the Sikeston Field House.
In 1916, landowner Leonard McMullin built a home of Colonial Revival architecture at 214 North Scott Street. Billed as the "Flying Farmer," he was the first commercial pilot in the state of Missouri, flying numerous exhibitions at state fairs.
In 1931, J. Otto Hahs (1891–1969) invented and patented the coin-operated horse in Sikeston.
In the 1950s, the "Gay 90's Village Museum" of music machines owned by Paul Eakins was established. The museum was closed in the mid-1970s when Eakins sold the bulk of his collection to Walt Disney World.
Around 1965, Sikeston was the location where Dr. Dewey Urban performed the first successful tooth transplant between two unrelated persons.
In 1968, Sikeston became the location for the first Wal-Mart store built outside of Arkansas along with a store in Claremore, Oklahoma. The Sikeston Wal-Mart is known as Store #9 while the store in Claremore is known as Store #12. Sam Walton was known for visiting the Sikeston store several times a month by flying his airplane into the Sikeston Municipal Airport.
In 1973, the first Drury Inn was built in Sikeston.
A horse named Sikeston, owned by Luciano Gaucci, won the Gran Criterium in 1988, the Premio Parioli in 1989, the Premio Ribot in 1990, the Queen Anne Stakes and Premio Roma in 1991, and the Premio Presidente della Repubblica in 1991 and 1992.
- Lambert's Cafe (Located in the nearby city of Miner) is a southeast Missouri cafe. It is the home of the famous throwed rolls. The restaurant was named the number one place to "pig out" by the Travel Channel.
- Sikeston Bulls is a minor league baseball team and part of the collegiate wood bat KIT League, which consists of teams from Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Illinois. Although inactive in 2008, the team returned to Sikeston in 2009. The Bulls play their home games in the VFW Memorial Stadium in Sikeston.
- Southeast Missouri Agricultural Museum - The state's largest collection of antique farm machinery is a short drive from Miner. At the Southeast Missouri Agricultural Museum, there are more than 6,000 pieces of machinery all capable of performing their original tasks. Many items date back to the 1800s and include tractors, combines, and wagons.
- Granny's Antiques is located next to the Southeast Missouri Agricultural Museum just outside Miner as are two authentic log cabins, a reconstructed service station, post office, 191-room schoolhouse, old country church, newspaper office, bank and the railroad station.
- Veterans' Park - is a 4.8-acre (19,000 m2) park dedicated to the men and women from Sikeston and other communities in Southeast Missouri who have served their country in war. The park features a lit granite monument and American flag display. The park was constructed and is maintained by volunteers without city funding. Names of Sikeston area veterans are inscribed in the brick walk leading from the parking lot to the memorial. Static displays feature an M60 battle tank, a F-4 Phantom II jet fighter, 105mm Howitzer cannon, a U.S. Navy 1955 Sioux Helicopter, and a World War II destroyer anchor.
- The remodeled YMCA building was built in 1925. It was used as a gymnasium for the middle school and as a gymnasium for the high school before that. Sikeston's YMCA has broken ground on an $8 million renovation campaign, which includes an indoor pool.
- Sikeston Drag Strip
Entertainment and recreation
Sikeston's Park system includes 14 parks. The largest park, the Sikeston Recreation Complex, features a fishing lake, picnic shelters and playground equipment. With tennis courts and several soccer fields, baseball diamonds and a little league football field, the Recreation Complex is home to a number of sporting events, including state and regional tournaments.
Parks include Armory Park, Central Park, Clayton Park, Dudley Park, American Legion Park, Malone Park, Mary Lou Montgomery Park, R.S. Matthews Park, Roberta Rowe West End Park, Rotary Park, Sikeston Recreation Complex, and Veterans Park.
- VFW Stadium — largest local baseball field
- The Sikeston Depot — city museum
- Blodgett’s Paintball Planet — a recreational area located north of Miner
- Sikeston's American Legion-sponsored Cotton Carnival and Parade began in 1944 as a homecoming to some World War II veterans. The parade, one of the largest in Missouri, featured floats, area marching bands, and state and national politicians.
In addition, the Sikeston Missouri Arts Council and the Sikeston Art League offer community concerts, cultural performances and art shows throughout the year. The Sikeston Little Theater is the oldest performing arts group between St. Louis and Memphis. The Arts Council's Missoula Children's Theater give annual performances. The new Albritton Mayer Center for the arts provides a home for a host of multimedia cultural presentations.
Sikeston has long been associated with country music. Some performers at the local Jaycee rodeo have included Kenny Rogers in 1977 and Loretta Lynn in 1983 with Charlie Daniels and Lee Greenwood performing multiple times. Upon his visit, Kenny Rogers donated an Arabian stallion to be auctioned off to bring money to the local cerebral palsy center which in appreciation changed its name to the Kenny Rogers Children’s Center.
Sikeston is home to several houses of worship. Some of the early Sikeston churches and those with their founding dates include the following:
- First United Methodist Church (1867); the "Dome Church" was erected at New Madrid and Harris Streets in 1912.
- First Baptist Church (1868); erected at South Kingshighway in 1915.
- Sikeston First United Pentecostal Church
- Hunter Memorial First Presbyterian Church (1870; 1894 re-established)
- St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church (1885 first mass; 1905 parish established); the present church was erected in 1938
- Wesley United Methodist Church (1905)
- First Christian Church (organized 1906)
- Concordia Lutheran Church (1919)
- West End Missionary Baptist Church (1922)
- Smith Chapel United Methodist Church (1923; 1938 Sikeston location)
- First Church of the Nazarene (1924)
- Seventh-day Adventist Church (1937)
- Tanner Street Church of God (1938)
- First Assembly of God (1939 or 1940)
- Fellowship Baptist Church (1949)
- St. Paul's Episcopal Church (1952)
- Murray Lane Baptist Church (1960)
- Shady Acres Church of Christ located on Ables Road
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Church on the Rock -2000 ( non-denominational )
- In 1789, El Camino Real, also known as "The King's Highway," was marked out by orders from the King of Spain. In 1915, the Missouri Daughters of the American Revolution erected a monument near Woodlawn Street in Sikeston to mark this event. In 1929, the Sikeston portion of the street was paved. Today this road is known as U.S. Route 61.
- The city has a few cobble-stoned streets in its older commercial downtown area.
- The city is served by the BNSF Railway and was historically served by the Union Pacific Railroad until the tracks were removed in 2011.
- Sikeston is located at the intersection of I-55 and I-57, making it the only city in Missouri other than Kansas City and St. Louis and Miner to be located on at least two interstate highways. Other Sikeston highways include U.S. Route 60, U.S. Route 61, U.S. Route 62, and Route 114. Sikeston's location at the intersection of U.S. Routes 60, 61, and 62 makes the city one of the few towns located at the intersection of three consecutively numbered highways.
- Sikeston is the setting for the films Love Takes Wing and Love Finds a Home
- The 1962 film The Intruder, starring William Shatner and directed by Roger Corman, features scenes shot on location in downtown Sikeston and at the old courthouse in Charleston.
|Advance, Bell City, Vanduser||Benton, Cape Girardeau||Diehlstadt, Blodgett|
|Dexter, Morehouse||Bertrand, Charleston|
|Malden, Parma, Canalou||Matthews, New Madrid||East Prairie, Hickman, KY|
Sikeston, Missouri Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.