St. Joseph touts itself as the “home where the Pony Express began and Jesse James ended.” With a new movie starring Brad Pitt as Jesse James on the way, St. Joseph has become a destination spot, offering more than just the expected historic sites. Here are some the locals treasure.
What attraction in St. Joseph should not be missed?: I would rank Patee House (a pre-Civil War hotel now used as a museum, 1202 Penn St.) for overall value and Glore Psychiatric Museum (3408 Frederick Ave.) for uniqueness (see below, strait jacket made of mattress ticking by State Hospital No. 2 patients).
What historic site do most school-children visit?: Pony Express Stables (914 Penn St.); home where Jesse James was killed (1318 Lafayette St.) is a close second.
What’s the latest story everyone’s gos-
siping about?: The forced resignation of a high school principal, allegedly for taking money from a petty cash fund.
Who knows St. Joseph’s history best?: Sheridan Logan and my father, Harold M. Slater, were the most knowledgeable. Today, I would say Clyde Weeks at Robidoux Row (219-225 E. Poulin St.), Gary Chilcote at Patee House and myself (excuse the modesty) know the local history best.
Best Route to Historic Downtown: From north/south, via Interstate 29, take
I-229 to 3rd and Edmond. From east/west, take Highway 36 to the 229 downtown exit.
Favorite Local Cuisine: Beef at Old Hoof and Horn Steakhouse (429 Illinois Ave.), chicken at Galvin’s (6802 SE. State Route 371) and seafood at Boudreau’s Louisiana Seafood (224 N. 4th St.).
Best Cowboy Bar: Buffalo Bar (512 Felix St.).
Best Western Bookstore: The souvenir shop at the Pony Express Stables; Patee House also has some good choices.
Best Western Art Gallery: Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Western Art (2818 Frederick Ave.; see example at right, Jessie Montes’ cardboard toy).
Most Popular Local Event: Trails West!, an annual art festival held in August.
Best Spot to View Wildlife: Squaw Creek, a national wildlife refuge 30 minutes to the north.
What radio personality do the locals listen to?: Barry Birr at KFEQ; he’s knowledgeable and has longevity.
Best Place to Buy Land: For those who want small acreage, plenty of rural/suburban space can be found within 15 minutes of the city. Older homes (1890s) also draw a lot of interest.
Average House Cost in St. Joseph: From $150,000-$500,000, depending on age.
Restoration plans for historic parts of the city: Many of our late 19th-century homes—Hall Street Historic District—are undergoing restoration. Recent restoration projects include: Robidoux Row (1849 apartment house built by city’s founder, Joseph Robidoux), 1860s-era bank, Missouri Valley Trust, and Mount Mora Cemetery, the burial place of three Missouri governors from the 19th century.