Zip Trip: FOX4 travels northeast to what was once the largest town in Missouri west of St. Louis

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LEXINGTON, Mo. -- Lexington, Missouri is about an hour northeast of Kansas City. Although it’s considered a small town today, that wasn’t always the case.

In the 1850s, Lexington was the biggest town in Missouri.

In the 1850s, Lexington was the biggest town in Missouri west of St. Louis. It had a population of about 5,000, which is about the same as today.

Chris Fritsche, the natural resource manager of the Battle of Lexington Historical Society says it was a mover and shaker town.

“This was where the Pony Express founders were locating their headquarters. This is where the Santa Fe Trail went through. This is where the Battle of Lexington in the Civil War took place. It just goes on from there,” Fritsche said.

You can actually see the wounds of war in the pillar at the courthouse or in the bullet holes on the side of the Anderson House. Some say, you can even feel the town’s history.

You can still see the wounds of war at the town.

“A block down the street is now a new bar called The Heist. And they’ve got a history of Jesse James robbing that. When you go in, you can feel that it was that old bank,” Lexington Tourism Bureau spokesperson Gloria Hanrahan said.

Lexington though isn’t just for history buffs. Hanrahan said the town now has a trolley that would make a perfect girls day out. Lexington also has one of the few independently owned book stores with the River Reader on Main Street. And on the outskirts of town, the Big River Ranch offers horseback riding, trail rides and camping.

The manager of the Big River Ranch, Marlin Harrison, said when it comes to Lexington, his favorite thing about it is the people.

“They’re laid back. They want to try to help the town grow,” he said.

Others, such as Fritsche agreed.

“When I first moved here two years ago, I was welcomed with open arms. The interaction of the people, it’s still that small town feeling everyone knows each other everyone helps each other out and that’s what really brings people to Lexington I think,” Fritsche said.

“It’s special to me in my heart,” Harrison added.

Four places you have to stop at during your visit to Lexington

  1. Battle of Lexington Historic Site
  2. Big River Ranch
  3. Linwood Lawn Bed and Breakfast
  4. Maid-Rite Drive-in
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