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About Sedalia

Founded in 1860 as a railroad town, Sedalia is a community rich in history and confidently pursuing its future as a 21st century city.
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The City of Sedalia, founded in October 1860, is the seat of Pettis County in west-central Missouri.  Located 90 miles east of Kansas City and 190 miles west of St. Louis, Sedalia's location at the intersection of US routes 50 and 65 gives residents and businesses easy access to Interstate 70, state capital Jefferson City and the Lake of the Ozarks recreational area.

Since 1899, Sedalia has been home to the Missouri State Fair - welcoming nearly 400,000 visitors every August to the third largest State Fairgrounds in the United States.  The nearly 400 acre site offers year-round facilities for camping, recreational activities and community events.

Sedalia hosts the annual Scott Joplin Festival, celebrating one of the best-known composers of the ragtime era.  The festival, held each year in early June, is Sedalia's first summer event and draws young and old to celebrate Sedalia's unique place in American music history.

The city's economy continues to shift from the railroad-based economy of the 1900's to the ever-diversifying manufacturing and service economy of today.  New and expanded manufacturing operations continue to grow the service industry and to attract new businesses to the community.  Much of the area surrounding Sedalia continues to be active farmland, keeping Sedalia connected to its roots while driving growth forward towards its future.

In 2006, Sedalia was recognized as one of Missouri's DREAM Initiative communities - supporting the redevelopment and revitalization of Sedalia's historic downtown and in 2007, voters of the Sedalia school district approved plans to renovate existing schools while constructing a new, state-of-the-art high school.

Railroad Ties

Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad Engine # 0918

Sedalia has a long history with the railroad. City founder General George R. Smith founded the city in an effort to attract Pacific Railroad to the community after neighboring Georgetown failed to attract the railroad investment.  The city itself was named after Smith’s daughter Sarah - whose nickname was Sed - and did not begin to prosper until January 1861.

In 1860, the Missouri legislature chartered the Tebo & Neosho Railroad Company to build a line between Neosho, Missouri and the site of what would eventually become Sedalia.  The Civil War put the plans of Tebo & Neosho on hold as all available resources and manpower was needed for the conflict.  With the war concluded, the legislature ammended the charter in 1866 to set the terminus of the line at Fort Scott, Kansas instead of Neosho.

1870 saw the first passenger train departure from Sedalia, Missouri as the Missouri, Kansas & Texas - known as MK&T or Katy - line partnered with, and later absorbed, the Tebo & Neosho line to provide service between Sedalia and Clinton, Missouri.  Crowds cheered all along the forty mile route between the cities as the line provided MK&T a vital link between their western operations and cities in the east.  Construction crews returned to Sedalia in 1873 as lines were constructed to link Sedalia and St. Louis.

Sedalia's now-historic Katy Depot was constructed in 1896 on what would become Third Street.  As one of the largest MK&T depots between St. Louis and Kansas City, the Sedalia depot featured a dining room and second story offices.  Local newspapers touted the depot as an example of Sedalia's importance in the railroad industry.

Railroad strikes in the early 1920s weakened the Sedalia economy and the Great Depression sealed the fate of Sedalia's MK&T shops - which closed permanently by 1940.  The decline in demand for passenger train service, fueled by the growth of the automotive industry, impacted MK&T and in May, 1958, the last MK&T passenger train passed through Sedalia.

In Sedalia today, the historic Katy Depot is the only structure remaining as a reminder of MK&T's once-extensive passenger operations in the city.  The depot was renovated between 1998 and 2001 and now serves as the offices for the Chamber of Commerce and the Convention & Visitor's Bureau.  The Katy Depot is located at 600 East Third Street and is open to the public weekdays from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m.



Key Facts about Sedalia -


Founded: 1860

Land Size: 13.1 square miles

Population: 21,387

Median Age: 35.8 years

Median Household Income: $28,641

Median Housing Value: $59,600

 

 

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City of Sedalia ◊ 200 South Osage Avenue ◊ Sedalia, MO 65301

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