Freedom's Frontier Heritage Traveler

The Lasting Impression of Lexington

What are you waiting for?

Get into Lexington, Missouri! Established in 1822, Historic Lexington will not let you down! If your interests lie in perusing quality antique shops, dining at unique eateries housed in pre-Civil War buildings, learning about a Civil War battle with a victorious outcome for the South, then point your car toward Lexington! How about the Santa Fe Trail, Little Dixie, and Steamboat trade and traffic along the Missouri River? Well, time’s a wastin’!  Better yet, would you like your stopover to also include streets lined with the allure of historic antebellum architecture with a chance for a charming overnight stay at one of the many Bed & Breakfasts housed inside these beauties? We are sure that the bounty of history in Lexington will leave a lasting impression!


The Legends of Lexington Begin with a Walking or Driving Tour of Four Historic Districts! The Downtown Historic District, Battlefield/Wentworth Historic District, Highland Avenue Historic District, Old Neighborhoods Historic District/Machpelah Cemetery.  LISTEN to the history as you go along at your own pace. Click here to download your walking/driving tour.  Click here to download your audio tours.

Battle of Lexington State Historic Site: The first year of the Civil War in Missouri began with the Unionists quickly gaining the upper hand. By the end of June, the pro-Southern governor and members of the cabinet and legislature had been driven into exile and a provisional pro-Union government had been created to rule the state. The tide turned on Aug. 10, 1861, when a Union army was defeated at the bloody Battle of Wilson’s Creek near Springfield. This set the stage for a rebel offensive into the heart of the Missouri River valley. In late August, the commander of the pro-Southern state guard forces, Maj. Gen. Sterling Price, set his 7,000 men in motion. Their objective was the prosperous and strongly pro-Southern Missouri River town of Lexington. The historic site grounds are open every day from sunrise to sunset, year-round.  Guided tours are available during seasonal hours which run from March through October.  You can watch a brief video of the history here.


Battle of Lexington State Historic Site Visitor Center :: Photo by KQ

Additional visitor information about the Battle of Lexington State Historic Site and the Anderson House is here.



Oliver Anderson Home :: Photo courtesy of Battle of Lexington State Historic Site


Interior view of Oliver Anderson Home :: Photo courtesy of Battle of Lexington State Historic Site

The Anderson House at the Battle of Lexington State Historic Site: The Oliver Anderson House is important not only for its role in the Battle of Lexington, but also because it is a fine example of the large mansion houses that prosperous, slave-holding Southerners were building in Missouri in the 1840s and 1850s.  In an 1853 local newspaper, it was said that “One noticed….that the new and magnificent dwelling house of Col. Anderson, on the bluff overlooking his rope walk, had grown rapidly in a short time.  It has been said that this building will be the largest and best arranged dwelling house west of St. Louis. The location is romantic and beautiful…”  Having been a useful space as a hospital when the Civil War came to Lexington, battle damage and bullet holes are still visible inside and out. Guided tours and annual events grace the grounds of this historic beauty. Read more about Oliver Anderson.



Lexington Historical Association :: Photo courtesy Lexington Tourism Bureau

If museums are your thing, you will want to pay a visit to the Lexington Historical Association and Museum.  Housed in the former Cumberland Presbyterian Church built in 1846, you will find the Lexington Historical Association and Museum a place full of area history, rare artifacts, and a story all its own.

What’s here?  Native Americans, the Santa Fe Trail, Pony Express, Wentworth Military Academy & College, Civil War are only a fraction of what you can explore.  Not to mention, industry in the 1800s including coal mining and steamboats.  You will also be able to learn more about one steamboat in particular, the sorrowful story of the Steamboat Saluda.

Visiting hours are from May to September, 1-4 p.m. daily.

Visit their facebook page here.


Shopping….Antiques, Specialty, and otherwise…


Historic Downtown Lexington, Missouri :: Photo by KQ

When you stroll historic downtown streets, one of the first things that comes to mind is what was the original use of the buildings? Is this streetscape full of bustling businesses today? If so, what type?  Nothing is more exciting than meandering along, admiring architecture from a by-gone era, and examining the original architectural ornamentation. In Lexington, you can count on being able to walk into most of these one-of-a-kind shops and once you cross the threshold, the ambiance, aroma of days of old and visual elements like original wood floors and tin ceilings bring you back in time to over one hundred years ago.

Many of these restored spaces helped to outfit wagon trains or welcome visitors from steamboats on the Missouri River.  Modern shopping malls pale in comparison to this type of setting.

The Lexington Tourism Bureau website has featured many of these fine establishments here.


 otlogoStart in Lexington to plan your travels and end up in nine scenic counties if you so choose.  Old Trails Tourism can visit with you to help you plan your adventure.  The Old Trails Region partially follows the path of the Missouri River in central Missouri. Orchards wineries, shopping and historic sites, beautiful scenery and incredible vistas. Here you’ll find some of the State’s finest regional dining, bed & breakfasts, festivals, and historical venues.  Plan your trip now!

The Old Trails History



Wineries & Orchards


Historic Venues


AgTourism & Agriculture

For further assistance in arranging historical tours, meals, or other requests please contact the Lexington Tourism Bureau: 660-259-4711  -or-  the Old Trails Region:  660-259-2230

Want to get in on the special Heritage Traveler Insider deals mentioned in this article? Become a Heritage Traveler today!




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