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Van Buren, Missouri
View across campground from US 60; courthouse square in the distance
View across campground from US 60; courthouse square in the distance
Location of Van Buren, Missouri
Location of Van Buren, Missouri
Country United States
State Missouri
County Carter
Township Carter
 • Total 2.00 sq mi (5.18 km2)
 • Land 2.00 sq mi (5.18 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.01 km2)
472 ft (144 m)
 • Total 747
 • Estimate 
 • Density 399.20/sq mi (154.13/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 573
FIPS code 29-75580
GNIS feature ID 0752687

Van Buren is a city in Carter County, Missouri, United States. It is the county seat and largest city in Carter County. Van Buren was founded in 1833 as the county seat of Ripley County and was named after then Vice President of the United States, Martin Van Buren. In 1859, Van Buren became a part of the newly created Carter County and was subsequently selected to be the county seat. The 2020 U.S. Census showed Van Buren with a population of 747.


In 1833 a commission appointed for the purpose of choosing a site for the county seat of Ripley County selected a site one-half mile west and across Current River from the present location of Van Buren. They named the new county seat Van Buren after the then Vice President of the United States, Martin Van Buren. A court house was built and a small city grew up around it. The city had one small general merchandise store run by a man named Shaw and a water powered grist mill owned by John George.

Van Buren remained the county seat of Ripley County until 1847 when the county seat was moved south to the town of Doniphan. After the removal of the county seat to Doniphan the town declined until only three or four families remained.

On March 10, 1859 Van Buren became part of the newly created Carter County and a few days later on April 4, Van Buren was selected to be the county seat of Carter County.

In 1867 the present site of Van Buren, located about a half-mile east and across the river from the original site, was purchased from Zimri A. Carter. Fifty acres of land was purchased from Zimri A. Carter for $475 and the deed given to Carter County commissioner James Snider. The first building to be built, even before the new city site was fully laid out, was a log court house located somewhat west of the current court house.

In 1874 the Vidette, a newspaper published by Dr. McDonald, began a brief run of only a few months before it folded. In 1876 another newspaper, the Times, published by Tom Brown and James Moseley, was published until 1884 at which time it was merged with the Current Local, which was established by Clay Moseley that same year, and which is now Carter County’s only locally published newspaper.

In 1893-94 the first bridge to cross the Current River was built at Van Buren at a total cost of $4,500. It was a suspension bridge and a toll of 5 cents per person and 15 cents for a team and wagon was charged for crossing it.

In 1901 the Carter County Bank, later known as the Carter County State Bank was instituted in Van Buren.

In 1907 the company of Pitman and Henry began a motorboat passenger service up and down the Current River between Van Buren and Doniphan

Sometime after 1907 the lines of the Willow Springs Local Long Distance Phone Company reached Van Buren bringing phone service to Van Buren.

In 1909 a structural steel bridge was built across the Current River at a total cost of about $9,000. This bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1915. The bridge was rebuilt at a cost of $15,000 and served the community until 1926 when a new $200,000 bridge was completed. Route 16, later to become U.S. Highway 60 crossed this bridge.

In 1927 electricity first came to Van Buren. The electricity was produced by a generator plant at Van Buren until 1934 at which time electricity generated by plants at Joplin and Lebanon was brought into the city.


Van Buren is located at 37°0′13″N 91°0′55″W / 37.00361°N 91.01528°W / 37.00361; -91.01528 (37.003594, -91.015230). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.00 square miles (5.18 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 345
1940 458 32.8%
1950 708 54.6%
1960 575 −18.8%
1970 714 24.2%
1980 850 19.0%
1990 893 5.1%
2000 845 −5.4%
2010 819 −3.1%
2019 (est.) 798 −2.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 819 people, 362 households, and 197 families living in the city. The population density was 409.5 inhabitants per square mile (158.1/km2). There were 431 housing units at an average density of 215.5 per square mile (83.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.0% White, 0.9% Native American, 1.1% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.9% of the population.

There were 362 households, of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.3% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 45.6% were non-families. 41.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 24.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.95.

The median age in the city was 43.4 years. 24.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20.2% were from 25 to 44; 23.8% were from 45 to 64; and 24.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 44.3% male and 55.7% female.

The median household income in town as of 2012 estimates was $25,958. The median family income in town was $43,333. Married couples median income was $42,250. Nonfamily median household income was $18,555.


Van Buren R-I School District operates one elementary school, one middle school, and Van Buren High School.

Van Buren has a lending library, a branch of the Carter County Library.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Van Buren (Misuri) para niños

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