Warrensburg, Missouri

Warrensburg is a city that emerged from a frontier gathering place over 150 years ago. In 1833, a blacksmith from Kentucky named Martin Warren chose a well-traveled spot along an Osage Indian Trail to build a cabin and set up his blacksmith shop, which served as an informal gathering place for the local farmers. Three years after moving to Missouri, Mr. Warren’s shop was named the county seat of the newly created County of Johnson. The township was named Warren’s Burg, in honor of the local blacksmith. In 1855, the township was incorporated and became the City of Warrensburg.
Work began in 1838 to build a courthouse for the newly formed county and was completed in 1842. The original courthouse was the site of the Burden vs. Hornsby “Old Drum” trial. George Graham Vest’s famous closing argument from the trial has come to be known as Tribute to a Dog, and is the source of the phrase “a dog is a man’s best friend.”
New additions to the southeast of the original township were platted in 1857 as the city shifted to meet the proposed railroad. The land was dedicated for the construction of a new courthouse at this time, and in 1867 a frame structure was built to house the county government. The last court session in the original courthouse was held in 1875.
Many residents were not satisfied with the small frame structure of the new courthouse. In 1894, according to legend, a group of young men took the cannon from the courthouse lawn, filled it with gunpowder, pieces of iron and iron chains and fired it at the structure. The building was almost completely destroyed. Three years later in 1897 the current courthouse was completed, and a statue of Minerva, Roman goddess of commerce, was placed at the top.
Even though battles were not fought in Warrensburg during the Civil War, the City was not without its own militias. In 1861, both the Union and the Confederacy organized a company. One company drilled on the West side of town, the other on the East. It is told that for convenience, the members of the two companies would sometimes drill together.

When the Civil War began, the railroad was still 30 miles from Warrensburg, but in spite of the war construction continued. By July 4, 1864, the railroad had reached Warrensburg and would remain the western terminus for another year. The rail through Warrensburg continues to play a significant role in the city today.
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s Warrensburg was considered the Missouri Mule Capital because of the Horse and Mule Barn operated by the Jones Brothers on Railroad Street. Mules from the area won prizes at the State Fair and at even larger expositions like the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. The mule barn, known later as Cassinghams and now as True Value Hardware, carried the motto “Through these portals pass the finest mules on earth.”
Warrensburg is home to many historic sites, including the Howard School, Blind Boone Park, the historic Johnson County courthouse, the Davis Store, the Missouri Pacific train depot, and many historical churches.
Come visit the home of “Man’s Best Friend” and see all we have to offer!

Get In Touch



Office Location: 

200 S. Holden Street

Mailing Address:

102 S. Holden Street

Warrensburg, MO 64093

Phone. 660-262-4611


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"The mission of the Warrensburg Convention and Visitors Bureau is to position Warrensburg and Johnson County, Missouri,as a regional tourism and meeting destination with the vision to foster experiences that exceed visitor expectations."

Home of Man's Best Friend (c) 2017

Website Photography: Eric Bowers, Jose Friebohle, Taylor Hassebroek, Robbie Lewis, Marie Nabors, Jessica Sommerkamp, Tara Carlyle