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About Platte County

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About Platte County
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Organized: December 31, 1838
Named after: Platte River
County seat: Platte City

Quick facts:
• First telephone installed in 1871.
• First public school built in 1868.
• First churches built in the 1840's.
• First electric light system constructed in 1900.
• First Platte county fair held in 1858.
• First opera house built in 1885.
• First daily mail service instituted in 1870.
• First railroad started in 1869.

Taking six of the centers of the United States, Platte County would be almost in the middle surrounded by: Wheat center, Nebraska; Geographical center, Kansas; Oat center, Iowa; Cattle center, Lead and Zinc center and Farm Production center, Western Missouri. The Corn center is on the Illinois-Missouri boundary, the Horse and Mule center and Hog center are also in Missouri, the Cotton center in Arkansas and the Population center in Indiana. Platte County lays near the Heart of America. 

 On November 7, 1872, the Platte County Court divided the county into 13 townships: Camden Point; Fail; Pettis; Lee; Magee; May; New Market; Parkville; Waldron; Ridgely; Salem; Miller and Weston.


About the court house

After the court had been meeting in homes and rental property, Platte County paid $100 for a double log structure to use as a courthouse in February 1840. The court used this building for nearly two years until the first permanent courthouse was completed. Construction for the permanent courthouse had been ordered in May 1840. W. M. Paxton, in Annals of Platte County, claims that Demetrius A. Sutton (1795-1848), an experienced architect, drew the plans and prepared the specifications for the 50-foot-square brick courthouse. For this service the court paid him $10. He also served on the courthouse building committee.

Sutton, a native of Fayette County, Kentucky, gained the respect of his Platte County associates, who considered him intelligent, well read, agreeable and talented. In addition to providing the plan and design of the courthouse, he may have been responsible for the drawing found in the clerk's office

The two-story building, completed by the November 1841 court term, faced south. On the first floor, a center hall led to the courtroom on the north. Two 18-foot-square offices on either side of the hall faced south. The second story repeated the arrangement.

 The building faces south and features a triple-arched entry in the center pavilion. The black and white square flagstones on the foyer floor have been a particular source of pride. Several additions have been made through the years to this building that continues to serve as Platte County's courthouse.

After many years of discussion concerning the fate of the courthouse, preservation of the building now seems assured. It is a fine and rare example of Missouri architecture from the 1860s and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Platte County was fortunate in having two unusually talented men contribute to its 19th century architectural heritage.


History of Clay and Platte Counties, Missouri. St. Louis: National Historical Company, 1885.

Paxton, W. M. Annals of Platte County, Missouri. Kansas City: Hudson-Kimberly Publishing, 1897. Reprinted Cape Girardeau: Ramfre Press, 1960.