History

You may have heard of the Battle of Carthage. But did you know Civil War Guerillas burned Carthage to the ground shortly after that battle? The town rebuilt in the Victorian era, and many of the Old Ladies still stand. The ornate courthouse towers over the city with dignity and grace, and there are hidden gems on its skirt hems.

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Visit a unique intersection of architecture, history, art, and inspiration.  While it was established in 1842, guerilla soldiers burned it to the ground during the American Civil War. Carthage, Missouri was reconstructed during the Victorian era.  Along with the tri-state mining boom of the late 1800s and early 1900s, the community created a diverse and robust economic profile for Carthage. Its families, businesses, and industries as well as its social organizations, left the town with a legacy of architectural marvels that are now featured in four districts (comprised of over 600 buildings) listed on the National Registry of Historic Places including one of the largest residential districts in Missouri.  These structures housed people and enterprises whose impressive tales continue to intrigue travelers today.  Civil War guerillas, Wild West outlaws, powerful capitalists, Ragtime music makers, women's rights pioneers, and many modern men and women have left their marks on Carthage history.  

Also known as America's Maple Leaf City voted the most beautiful tree canopy in 2020, Carthage bursts into beauty in the fall with gorgeous maple trees set along Route 66 and marvelous aforementioned historic districts. Autumn events are legendary, starting with Maple Leaf Festival in October and stretching into the holidays with the Historic Downtown Christmas celebration and Christmas Lighting Tour. 

Carthage offers a variety of group opportunities. Take tours of historic homes, visit anywhere along Route 66, or stop by the Precious Moment’s Chapel. 

Unique dining is abundant in Carthage with the Lucky J Steakhouse and Arena, Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre, and fine dining or classic home cooking at a historic home. Groups and visitors are welcomed daily to share the legacy and inspiration in Carthage.

Historic Downtown

From Fall festivities to Christmas parades, to summer art walks. The historic downtown is home to many one-of-a-kind businesses, structures, and people. Shop for your pups, kids, or parents. Take a bite of local cuisine you won’t find anywhere else. Whether you stop at the Deli, The Woodshed at Cherry’s Art Emporium, or grab a snack at one of the incredible coffee shops, you won’t be disappointed.

The Old Ladies

Many old homes in Carthage have grown to be known by the locals as the Old Ladies. Carthage Offers tours, both in-home and driving tour options, to see all the historic homes this town has to offer. With plenty to do in between, see one of a kind homes and buildings you can’t find anywhere else in the U.S.

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The Civil War

On July 5, 1861, the Battle of Carthage between the Confederate forces and the Union soldiers unfolded. One of the most notable battles in Missouri and pivotal in the Union’s advantage, followed by the burning of Carthage. Learn about the Civil War and more at any of the Carthage Museums! Visit the Carthage Civil War Museum, the Powers museum, Koka Art Gallery, Precious Moments, and beyond!

The Carthage Historic Preservation, Inc.

The Carthage Historic Preservation works to restore beautiful homes and sites in Carthage, Missouri. The members are preservation pioneers and intent to continue working towards a historically commemorated town. 

Their most recent endeavor drives energy towards The Sweet House (c. 1868), believed to be the oldest home in town. Previous projects include the home of the Battle of Carthage Civil War Museum and the Phelp’s House.

Jasper County Courthouse

Built in 1894-5, this Romanesque Revival building is constructed of Carthage stone and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its turrets, towers, and arches evoke a feeling of a medieval castle looming over the city below. Inside a wrought-iron cage elevator still operates and an array of military artifacts and mining specimens are displayed along with the “Forged in Fire” mural by Lowell Davis that portrays the history of Jasper County. A display representing the history of Route 66 was added in 2009. The Jasper County Courthouse is said to be the second most photographed building in the state of Missouri.

302 S. Main Carthage, MO 64836 (You can’t miss it!)
Phone: (417) 358-0421

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