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Lexington City

Lexington City Hall is located at 919 Franklin Avenue, Lexington, MO 64067; phone: 660-259-4633.

Beginnings [1]

In 1815 the first white settler of Lafayette County, Gilead Rupe, settled about 2 miles south of the present site of Lexington. By 1819 a ferry was established across the Missouri River at Lexington by Captain William Jack, and the first hemp crops began to be raised along Dover Road (the old Santa Fe Trail). In the early 1820s the development of the Santa Fe Trail established Lexington at its eastern boundaries. In April of 1822 "Old Town" was platted. The Santa Fe Trail became the main thoroughfare, labelled Main Street. Today it is South Street. Lexington rapidly became a primary gathering point for shippers, trappers, explorers, and settlers. By 1827 trappers and fur traders had made Lexington their center, and by 1829 Robert Aull had established a private bank as a facility for his shipping business. Robert was to join with James Aull in 1831 to develop probably the best known and largest shipping business in the West outfitting westward bound pioneers. In 1832, a new courthouse was built in Old Town.

Soon commerce also began growing on the Missouri River, located some distance north and west from the original town plat. The first steamboat, the "Western Engineer," had passed up river as early as 1820. By the early 1830s the main area of activity began to shift from the Santa Fe Trail connection north to the river, and in 1836 the shift was completed with the platting of the First Addition of New Town.

  1. Mary J. Matthews, Lexington Historical Foundation, Historic Resources of Lexington (Lexington Multiple Resource Area), nomination document, 1980, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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