Fayette, Missouri

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City of Fayette, Missouri
Town Square in Fayette
Town Square in Fayette
Location in the state of Missouri
Location in the state of Missouri
Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Country United States
State Missouri
County Howard
Founded 1823
 • Mayor Kenneth O'Brian
 • Administrator Robin Triplett
 • Total 2.26 sq mi (5.85 km2)
 • Land 2.22 sq mi (5.75 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)
Elevation 699 ft (213 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 2,688
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 2,709
 • Density 1,210.8/sq mi (467.5/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 65248
Area code(s) 660
FIPS code 29-23842[4]
GNIS feature ID 0717869[5]
Website http://fayette.missouri.org/

Fayette is a city in Howard County, Missouri, United States. The population was 2,688 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Howard County.[6] It is part of the Columbia, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Fayette was made county seat in 1823. It was named for Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, who at the time was soon expected to pay a visit to the U.S. from France.[7]

The original Town of Fayette, named after the illustrious French compatriot. General Lafayette, was first settled by Hiram Fugate and Hickerson Burnham who each donated 25 acres of land for the location of the county seat. Subsequently, the town was surveyed and laid out in 1823 by Judge Alfred W. Morrison (who later became sheriff and county judge) with the assistance of his step-father, Lawrence J. Daley and commissioners Jonathan Crawley, William Head, Samuel Wallace, Glenn Owens, and Samuel Hardin, Sr. The original plated town was a rectangle, about three blocks wide and seven blocks long with a public "square" in the center. It was divided into 150 lots, with numbering beginning at the southeast corner of the square.

The four major streets bordered the square originally were named First Main (east side). Second Main (west side). First Main Cross (south side) and Second Main Cross (north side). In 1900, because of overwhelming confusion, the street names were changed to Main, Church, Morrison, and Davis, respectively.

It should be noted that the Fayette Square configuration is an example of the Shelbyville Square, so called from its prototype in Shelbyville, Tennessee. This plan included a central courthouse and used the block of the grid to lay out the streets. The Shelbyville plan and other central courthouse plans were widely adopted in Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. According to author Edward T. Price in his article "The Central Courthouse Square in the American County Seat," "the Shelbyville Square quickly became the most frequent county seat plan in new counties in most states." The frequency of the Shelbyville pattern waned after 1900.

Commerce and Architecture

According to the "Fayette, Missouri Survey Summary Report" (June, 1992), money flowed into Howard County from 1825-1860. The economy was based on Missouri River shipping and farming including tobacco, hemp, and cotton. The area was "extensively rooted in the traditions and agricultural practices of the agrarian South." During these prosperous beginnings, this young community merely sought to get essential services centered around the square to accommodate early settlers in the county.

County histories claim that Fayette's commerce, prior to the civil war, was conducted from log cabins or modestly designed wood frame structures built in proximity to the square. One such building was General Ignatious Owen's hotel, located on the southeast corner of the square, and erected in the fall of 1824. Other buildings constructed around the square from this early period of development include the Branch Bank of the State of Missouri (1839), The Howard Hotel (ca.1830), and the U.S. Land Office (1827). The only commercial building located around the square to survive this era in Fayette's history is the Marley & Coles Hatter's building (ca.1828-1832) 120 N. Church Street. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this two-story Federal style brick building is now owned by the Fayette Area Heritage Association.

During the Civil War, there was a hiatus of construction in Fayette. The first battle of the Civil War west of the Mississippi River was fought east of neighboring Boonville and the Confederates were routed, leaving control of the strategically important Missouri River in Union hands. Union forces occupied Fayette several times during the course of the war. On September 20, 1864, Confederate troops under the command of Quantrell, Poole, Anderson, Perkins and Todd attempted to capture Fayette, with battles on the Square. Consequently, Fayette became a battleground of the Civil War and economic and civil chaos ensued. The end of the war left this area in economic disorder.

One of the most prosperous periods for Fayette ushered in after the Civil War due, in part, to the arrival of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad in 1873. By 1885, the east, west and south side of the square were occupied by one and two story buildings, mostly of brick construction. Because of a disastrous fire that destroyed the south side of the Square, the Fayette City Council decreed that all replacement buildings should be designed in brick. There were several cast-iron storefronts already in existence or nearing completion, but the ruling for brick set the tone for subsequent construction around the Square.

A sampling of the businesses that were established around the Square by the mid-1880s included: John Talbot & Company (111-113 N. Main Street); Farmers and Merchants Bank (105 N. Main Street); Rosenbaum Dry Goods (107 N. Main Street); L.S. Prossor Dry Goods Company (112 E. Morrison Street); Tolson's Hall (114 E. Morrison Street); Woods and Long Drugs (120 E. Morrison Street); Dimmit Mercantile Company (108-110 E. Davis Street). An 1885 Sanborn map of Fayette indicates that the north side of the Square was the least developed.

Some of the most architecturally impressive buildings around the Square survive intact from this period of construction. Although most are vernacular in form, there are several that display a clear influence from either Italianate or Romanesque high-style design. In order to embellish the primary facade of these structures, highly decorative pressed sheet metal cornices were employed. These could be erected fast, using local skills and mail-order sheet metal, pre-stamped and shipped by rail. Notable examples include 107 and 111-113 N. Main Street.

Between 1886 through the turn-of-the-century, several other brick buildings were constructed on or near the Square, bringing in more commercial trade to the area such as Coller and Kelly Tinners (109 N. Main Street), and Freeman and Blackwell Clothing (124 E. Morrison Street). During this period, Fayette was in the midst of the biggest commercial building boom of its history; the erection of the Howard County Courthouse in 1887 designed in the Second Empire style, became the architectural and physical focal point of the Square. Like the building period before, other notable buildings from this period incorporate Italianate and Romanesque vocabulary into the primary elevations and employ the use of pressed metal cornices and cast-iron piers to further embellish their storefronts. Particular locations include: 109 N. Main Street, 112 S. Main Street, 110-112 N. Church Street, and 124 E. Morrison Street. The Howard County Jail, a massive 2-1/2 story brick Queen Anne building, was also constructed during this prosperous era. Along the first block of South Main Street, south of the Square, more modest storefronts with cast-iron columns were erected.

Construction continued at a steady pace from the start of the 20th century through the 1920s. One to two-stories in height and more austere in their overall design, these buildings represent the largest and last major period of commercial growth around the Square. Vacant lots on East Davis Street, at the north side of the Square, were filled in with two-story brick commercial blocks including the Butler Block Building (100-106) and Century Building (114-122) while a greater variety of businesses were introduced to the area. In addition, Fayette's Public Library and United States Post Office brought Mission Style and Neo-Classical design, respectively, into the area surrounding the square.

No new construction occurred within the Square in the 1930s and 1940s, however the commercial viability of the business surrounding the Square continued to thrive, as it does today.

Politics and Government

For 173 years the public square has been the site of three different Howard County Courthouses. The first courthouse, a one-story building, was constructed of brick in 1824 and featured two rooms one for the County Clerk and one for the Circuit Clerk. This building served the needs of the county until 1859 when the second courthouse was constructed. Built by local contractor Joseph Megraw at a cost of $21,500, this two-story brick building featured "a main part with two winds, a fine portico with four huge stone columns on the south front, and over all towered a graceful cupola topped with brazen eagle and weather vane." Unfortunately, this Neo-Classical courthouse was destroyed by a fire on December 1, 1886 due to the fact that Fayette, at the time, had no fire-fighting mechanism. The third and present Fayette County Courthouse, completed in 1887, was designed in the Second Empire style by the Kansas City, Missouri, architectural firm of Schrage & Nichols for approximately $60,000. With regard to the price paid for the courthouse design. Judge H.J. Hendren stated that "that this was no time to be cheap," and that "this was a time to construct something lasting, of which Howard County could be proud for generations."

The Howard County Courthouse is significant as an excellent example of the Second Empire style. It is also significant as the oldest remaining building which has served as the seat and focus of Howard County government.

References Published Materials Dyson, Vernie, ed. Picturesque Fayette. Fayette: The Advertiser, 1905.


Fayette is located at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. (39.145468, -92.686126).[8] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.26 square miles (5.85 km2), of which, 2.22 square miles (5.75 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.[1]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 647
1870 815 26.0%
1880 1,247 53.0%
1890 2,247 80.2%
1900 2,717 20.9%
1910 2,586 −4.8%
1920 2,381 −7.9%
1930 2,630 10.5%
1940 2,608 −0.8%
1950 3,144 20.6%
1960 3,294 4.8%
1970 3,520 6.9%
1980 2,983 −15.3%
1990 2,888 −3.2%
2000 2,793 −3.3%
2010 2,688 −3.8%
Est. 2014 2,707 [9] 0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 2,688 people, 949 households, and 509 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,210.8 inhabitants per square mile (467.5/km2). There were 1,097 housing units at an average density of 494.1 per square mile (190.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.5% White, 13.0% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population.

There were 949 households of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.9% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 46.4% were non-families. 37.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.85.

The median age in the city was 26.1 years. 16.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 32% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 15.9% were from 25 to 44; 19.5% were from 45 to 64; and 15.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.7% male and 51.3% female.

2000 census

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 2,793 people, 976 households, and 578 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,253.6 people per square mile (483.6/km²). There were 1,133 housing units at an average density of 508.5 per square mile (196.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.16% White, 18.33% African American, 0.47% Native American, 0.21% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.47% from other races, and 1.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.93% of the population.

There were 976 households out of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.4% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.7% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were individuals and 16.5% 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 2.79.

In the city the population was spread out with 17.9% under the age of 18, 28.2% from 18 to 24, 19.5% from 25 to 44, 16.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 91.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,276, and the median income for a family was $35,694. Males had a median income of $27,768 versus $20,833 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,451. About 9.1% of families and 15.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.1% of those under age 18 and 20.0% of those age 65 or over.


Fayette is home to Central Methodist University, a private 4-year accredited university. It was also home to the now-defunct Howard-Payne Junior College.

In its public school system, Fayette has one elementary school (L. J. Daly), one middle school (W. N. Clark) and one high school (Fayette).


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  9. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links