The Sedalia Katy Depot

Sedalia Missouri's  Visitor Center and Year-Round Historic Railroad Destination

Join Us On A Fascinating Journey Along Sedalia's Heritage Trail

The whistle is blowing, the signals are flashing, so walkers, bicyclists and motorists, it’s time to travel down the great Sedalia Heritage Trail, where a trainload of treasures await your pleasure. We have chosen a few Whistle stops along the way, to enhance your enjoyment, but please feel free to stop and gaze anywhere your heart desires. There is a lot to see and much to enjoy. We’re proud to be called the Queen City of the Prairie.

Now, take a deep breath and step back in time to 1861 and visualize a little prairie town, which consisted of only two blocks between Ohio and Kentucky Avenues. It had three or four houses, a small store, post office and a couple of hotels. And then came the railroad...


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Katy Freight Depot, East Main Street

It took a lot of manpower and equipment to run a railroad and by 1881, Sedalia had become the intersecting point for four of them: the Missouri Pacific Railroad Co. (formerly Pacific Railroad) traveling east to west across Missouri; the MKT which carried passengers and freight from Hannibal to Sedalia and from Sedalia to Fort Scott Kansas and on to Denison Texas; the Lexington & St. Louis Railroad running from Sedalia to Lexington and the Sedalia, Warsaw and Southern R.R. from Sedalia to Warsaw. And when the track building moved on, Sedalia became the home of the Missouri Pacific and MKT shops, employing thousands of workers to build and maintain its railway cars; depots, general offices, railroad hospital and stockyard. The old freight depot stands as a reminder of the glory days of the railroad. In the year 1875 alone, seven million pounds of freight were received by the Sedalia depot.

Blazing The Trail

The whistle is blowing, the signals are flashing, so walkers, bicyclists and motorists, it’s time to travel down the great Sedalia Heritage Trail, where a trainload of treasures await your pleasure. We have chosen a few Whistle stops along the way, to enhance your enjoyment, but please feel free to stop and gaze anywhere your heart desires. There is a lot to see and much to enjoy. We’re proud to be called the Queen City of the Prairie.

Now, take a deep breath and step back in time to 1861 and visualize a little prairie town, which consisted of only two blocks between Ohio and Kentucky Avenues. It had three or four houses, a small store, post office and a couple of hotels. And then came the railroad...

Washington Avenue Viaduct, Main Street and Washington Avenue

Early evidence of the railroad’s influence on the growth of Sedalia is the Washington Avenue Viaduct. The viaduct was built over the railroad tracks to provide passage from Main to St. Louis Streets. Steps were built on each side, to provide access for pedestrians. In 1910, maintenance of the viaduct became a joint project of the City of Sedalia, the Missouri Pacific and MKT Railroad Cos. Improvement projects have continued over the years.

Downtown Sedalia Historic District

The elegant facades which grace the streets and avenues of the Downtown Sedalia Historic District, date back to Sedalia’s ‘great building era’ which in 1871 resulted in the construction of 22 brick buildings. This era was sparked in 1866 when Christopher Demuth and W. B. Adams established the town’s first brickyard. The Downtown Sedalia Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in March 1993.

Recent removal of 1960s aluminum sheathing on many of the buildings has revealed the beautiful historic architecture you see today. Main Street Sedalia provided incentives and guidance in the renovation process.

100 Block East Main Street - Maple Leaf Park

By 1899 Sedalia had shed much of its frontier culture and had become a lusty, vibrant railroad town. Main Street was still a major part of the business district where commerce was conducted throughout the day. By night, the scene changed as many storeowners rented their upstairs rooms out to saloons and brothels. In that particular year, a young, black, itinerant musician, Scott Joplin, had his Maple Leaf Rag published by the John Stark Music Co. of Sedalia, which was located at 114 E. Fifth St. It was the first piece of American music to sell 1 million copies. Ragtime music raided the parlors of mainstream America and musical history was made. Joplin named his famous composition after the Club of the same name, which was located above Blocher’s Seed Store at 121 E. Main St. Ahistorical marker and performance area at that location constitutes Maple Leaf Park.

118 East Main Street

This Victorian/Italianate building was opened in 1883 as a grocery store. The original name, IBig Callies, can faintly be seen near the top.

110 & 112 East Main Street - Local Artist Studios

These circa 1870s historic Victorian/Italianate buildings now serve as working studios and exhibition centers for painters and sculptors. In the early years,the buildings along East Main St. were frame structures, constructed on little more than a wing and prayer and were ready tinder for careless fire-builders and untended lanterns. A hand fire engine and water drawn from cisterns represented the only fire fighting equipment. The present buildings were a part of Sedalia ’building era’ which began in 1866. 

106 - 108 East Main Street

Built in 1879, these buildings housed a saloon and a hall upstairs. Scott Joplin performed in the 400 Club located upstairs at the 108 East Main location. Leon Archias established a seedstore in this Victorian/ Italianate building in 1898. Today, the buildings provide office space for the bank next on the tour. 

101 South Ohio

This large Classical Revival bank building was built in 1908 to house Citizens National Bank. In existence since 1872, the bank remained here until 1931, when it was the first local bank to close due to the stock market crash of 1929. In 1932, Union Savings Bank, one of only two banks in Sedalia to have kept their doors open during the Great Depression, moved into this formal classical style building. 

506 - 510 South Ohio Avenue - Cassidy Building

This 1890s three-story building housed such businesses as the Home Tea and Coffee Co. and a grocery store at 510. In the 1930s the third story was removed. On the south outside wall, don’t miss the painted advertisement for “Sen Sen, ‘A Dainty Toilet Necessity,’” a product sold when the building housed the Home Tea and Coffee Co.

512 - 514 South Ohio Avenue

The YMCA Building was constructed in 1891 in the Romanesque Revival style. The building features a unique doorway and ornate second floor facade.

505 South Ohio Avenue

Art Impressions Gallery features regional artists with exceptional works ranging from traditional to contemporary. Workshops and other art happenings are scheduled.

515 - 519 South Ohio Avenue

In the late 1800s it was very common in small Midwestern towns for the furniture dealer to also be the undertaker, due to the fact that the cabinet maker was often the casket maker. What is unusual today, however is for these businesses to still be together, functioning as one corporation, still under the original family’s ownership. The founding brothers John and George McLaughlin began their businesses on Second Street but moved to these buildings designed and built to their specifications in 1890.

Sixth and Osage Avenue - Community Church

The round stone arches are the primary feature of Romanesque Revival buildings and this church, dedicated in the 1880s, is no exception. The bell tower and stained glass windows add to its beauty. The building is now home to the Slavic Christian Church of Sedalia. Their first services were held in April 2004, and they were in Russian. The churches congregation will continue to refurbish the building.

Fourth and Osage Avenue

Constructed in 1888, the First United Methodist Church is the second oldest church in Sedalia. The Romanesque Revival style was popular in church construction prior to the turn of the century. The asymmetrical towers give a medieval air to this structure and make it one of Sedalia’s more interesting attractions.

112 - 114 West Fourth Street - Porter-Montgomery Building

This building was erected in 1907 and although the facade is sometimes known as Egyptian Revival, many of the other details above the doors and windows show a strong Greek influence. The interior of the building has been completely restored.

200 S. Osage Avenue - Municipal Building Murals

Sedalia was granted a city charter in 1864 and the present Municipal Building was completed and its cornerstone placed in 1973. This building replaced the former City Hall, which was built in 1877. The structure houses city offices, municipal courtroom/city council chambers and police station. The Sedalia Murals, which depict the city’s growth and cultural history, executed by muralist Eric Bransby were completed in 1977 and grace the outside walls of the Council Chambers.

118 S. Osage Avenue

This structure with Italiante windows was built in 1880 by J. M. Offield, the father of film star Jack Oakie. Oakie is probably best known as Clark Gable’s sidekick in “Call of the Wild.”

115-119 West Main Street - Anheuser-Busch Bottling Works, circa 1883 and 1892

Anheuser-Busch Bottling Works, circa 1883 and 1892. The building located on the southeast corner (119) was completed in 1880 and was used as a saloon with upstairs sleeping rooms until the 1930s. The first floor features its original pressed metal ceiling. The arched window on the slanted corner would have been the original doorway. The next section of the building (117) has a rare semi-hexagonal metal oriel (window) which protrudes over the sidewalk.

217 West Main Street

Built in 1880, the Messerly Building has some very unique window treatments. The building housed on its ground floor the more respectable enterprises of grocery store, carriage shop, patent medicine store, and restaurant. The second floor housed a notorious brothel and has a significant variety and volume of graffiti scrawled on its walls by customers.

Third and Kentucky Avenue - Carnegie Library

This impressive terra cotta and Carthage stone building is the Sedalia Public Library. It is Missouri’s first library west of the Mississippi to be built on a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation. This Renaissance Revival building features a classical entry with its stately columns clearly resembling a Roman temple. The interior of this classic style structure is resplendent with marble and glass floors, open fireplaces and oak woodwork. The library was dedicated in 1901.

Third & Moniteau Avenue - Sacred Heart Church

The primarily German immigrant congregation, now known as Sacred Heart Catholic Church, was organized in 1892. The Gothic style structure, one of Sedalia’s most picturesque buildings, was completed in 1893 and features a ceiling-high, hand-carved walnut altar and two side altars.

Third and Park Avenue - Liberty Park

In 1890 the city purchased a 50 acre site at this location from Frank and Joseph Sicher. The site consisted of a five-acre lake, a racetrack, grandstand, fairground and a hotel with a dining room, which could accommodate 500 diners. The site was known as Sicher Park and renamed Liberty Park in 1900. 32 acres were added and today, the centerpiece of the city’s parks and recreation department, boasts a stocked lagoon, a rose garden, a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, convention center and a baseball stadium that was constructed under a Works Progress Administration (WPA) program. With its several shelter houses and tree-shaded picnic areas, Liberty Park provides the community with a beauty spot in which to enjoy their leisure and recreational pursuits.


16th and State Fair Boulevard - Missouri State Fairgrounds Historic District

Over the years, the fairgrounds have been the scenes of many of Sedalia’s most memorable moments. Including an airplane exhibition in 1909, by brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright.

The Missouri State Fairgrounds Historic District contains a significant collection of early 20th century fairgrounds buildings and properties, which were added as Missouri's first and only permanent state fairground expanded and evolved during its first 40 years, 1901-1941.Ê Four of the original frame buildings constructed on the grounds burned in 1904 and between 1903 and 1906 several brick buildings, still in service, were built for use as exhibition centers. The architectural styles range from eclectic variations of Romanesque Revival and other classical forms to Art Deco/Art Moderne, while the brick exposition buildings and animal barns are clearly linked by common elements of design and other details of materials, workmanship, setting, size, association and proximity. Blueprints and historic photographs confirm that all of the most significant resources are relatively unaltered to moderately altered.

Main Gate

Built in 1939 this Art Deco/Art Moderne rendering in steel and concrete consist of three individual ticket booths spanned by steel arch work containing the Missouri State Seal and the words, MISSOURI STATE FAIR, in ribbon steel. The gateway is at the original north entrance, through which more than a billion people have entered the fairgrounds since the first fair in 1901. The booths are no longer used and the major entry to the fairgrounds is now located off of Limit Ave. (Highway 65).

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Coliseum/Livestock Pavilion

Built 1905-1906 and long the centerpiece of the fairgrounds, the 180' x 235' three story coliseum restates and amplifies several architectural motifs found in the brick animal barns nearby. All four sides of the brick, wood and steel building are arcaded, while the two-tiered portico and all four corners contain two-story archways. Inside an angular oval arena is ringed with bench seats. The arena floor is earthen. Numerous entertainers and politicians have performed and spoken here, but apart from its architecture, the Coliseum is mainly significant for having the primary stock and horse-judging arena at the Missouri State Fairgrounds for more than 80 years.

Women’s Building

Built in 1910, the Women’s Building is a rectangular, 2 1/2 story gray brick building constructed in the Georgian Revival style. The five bay main facade of the approximately 60' x 72' building is dominated by a full-height pedimented portico supported by two smooth wooden Doric columns. Smaller wooden columns and two square brick rusticated columns support a full-width two-story porch with a classical balustrade on both levels. The primary entry is double leaf with sidelights and transom, while the entrance onto the deck lacks a transom but is otherwise similar. The roofing is asphalt shingles. During 1965 extensive renovations were done which included the removal of a one-story rear wing, as well as the addition of a wheel chair ramp. The building has a full basement, which houses the Missouri State Fair Heritage Exhibit, that was dedicated in August of 2002 during the 100th anniversary of the fair.

Administration Building/Governor Sam A. Baker Building

Built in 1926-27, the Administration Building is a rectangular two-story brick building with a symmetrical facade highlighted by a projecting temple front of rusticated brick piers and smooth stone Tuscan columns. A low brick parapet extends around the front and both sides of the approximately 95' x 56' building. In the rear (west) facade, square brick piers support a one-story portico. In addition to offices, the Administration Building contains bedrooms, which were installed for members of the fair board of directors, and a cafeteria. In 1964 the building was remodeled (primarily inside) to bring plumbing and electrical circuits to modern standards.

Commercial Building/Agricultural Building

Shaped parapets with copings above four entrances, “bell towers” on the corners and extensive arch work provide a strong Missionesque flavor for this exposition hall which was built in 1903. The approximately 80' x 160' building is one of three red brick and steel exposition halls constructed for the 1903 fair. The round-arched entrances (one per side) and corner towers are projecting, with round compound arches. The roof is hipped with lower cross gables and there are four hipped-roof dormers. Sandstone is used for trim and lugsills, but the water table/foundation is limestone. The four corners contain rest rooms, storage and office space. A concrete ramp was added on the north, and metal doors replaced the wooden ones that were originally installed. Originally the Agricultural Building, it had been redesigned as the Education Building by the 1920s. Several years ago it became the Commercial Building.

Frisco Locomotive # 4516 and tender - Nickname “Old Smokie”

Built in 1943 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Eddystone, Pennsylvania, the engine weighs 240 tons and its tender 191 tons. The tenders capacity is 18,000 gallons of water and 24 tons of coal. It was moved from Fort Scott Kansas to Sedalia by the MKT Railroad, and presented to the fairgrounds August 20, 1956, by the Frisco Railroad.

“Merci Train” Boxcar

During late 1947 and early 1948 the American people sent food and other items to France on “Friendship Trains.” The French responded with a 49-car train loaded with gifts for each of the 48 states and one for the District of Columbia and Hawaii. The thank you boxcars were vintage late 19th century “40 and 8s” which stands for 40 men and 8 horses. Some of the contents of the boxcar are on display with the Pettis County Historical Society. The boxcar was refurbished in circa 2000.

FFA Building/Poultry Building - Built in 1903.

The FFA building is a 55' x 122' brick and steel exposition hall, one of the three oldest on the fairgrounds. Each symmetrical facade contains a central double-leaf entrance within a projecting bay. Entry and window openings have round brick work arches. Decorative insets of terra cotta are beneath the pediments. Round-arched windows above entrances contain tracery. The water table is gray sandstone. The paneled doors are thought to be original. The original tin roof has since been replaced with asphalt shingles. Constructed in 1903 as the Poultry Building, it was redesignated as the Dairy Building two years later when a new larger Poultry Building was erected. During the 1920s it became the University Building. The cost ($10,672) was comparable to that of the large brick horse and cattle barns constructed over the next few years.

Swine Pavilion/Swine & Sheep Pavilion - Built in 1922

The Swine Pavilion is an arcaded, steel-frame brick building with a flat, three-tiered roof and Missionesque parapets above projecting entrance ways. Square towers with pyramidal roofs are in the northeast and southeast corners of the 276' x 284' building. Atop the uppermost flat level is a cross-hipped structure designed for additional ventilation. The 51st General Assembly appropriated $125,000 for a 276' x 384' building, but completion of the west side was deferred when the appropriation proved inadequate. The west portion, designed to be about as elaborate as the east, was never completed. Inside the brick building, the steel pens appear to be those from the original installation in 1922.

3201 W. 16th Street - State Fair Community College

In 1966, the State Fair Community College District was established. On a 15 acre tract of land the college began construction. During a July windstorm the partially constructed walls blew down and they raced to continue so that the doors would open for the fall term, their efforts paid off and 436 students walked through the doors of a prefabricated building consisting of six light-green modular units connected by a central hallway, on the first day of class September 16th 1968. Due to the temporary nature of the structure, the structure was dubbed “Plywood U” with the intentions of only using the original building no longer than 10 years. The following decade saw six additional structures added including the Charles E. Yeater Learning Center, Vocational-Technical Center, and the Hopkins Student Services Building, completed in 1988, which replaced the temporary buildings on the campus. By 2002 additional structures included The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Stauffacher Center for the Fine Arts, with a theater, classrooms, and the prestigious Goddard Gallery. The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art contains nine galleries devoted to the exhibition of art from the last 30 years. The permanent collection is comprised of abstract paintings, drawings, and prints, works in clay and sculpture created by many of America’s most celebrated artists. The landscape around the building will be host to future public art projects. The Scott Joplin Archives - housed in the Library of the Yeater Building, contains the bar from the Maple Leaf Club, a stain glass window from the Woods Opera House, along with letters, music, and other Joplin memorabilia.

Katy Trail State Park (western trailhead)

The 233 mile long Katy Trail State Park, a hiking and bicycling trail across the state, is built on the former corridor of the MKT Railroad. From this trailhead southwest to Calhoun, MO is equestrian friendly. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources maintains the trail.

MKT Overpass/Girder (Highway 65 South)

The overpass was built in 1969 when South Highway 65 was widened. According to the Union Pacific Railroad it is composed of three plate girders arranged in a through girder, configuration of 32 feet each. Visual evidence, however, indicates that the middle girder is longer than the two outside spans.

20th & Grand - MKT Shops

In 1898 the Katy Railroad relocated the shops one mile southwest to a 60 acre tract in southwest Sedalia. Businessmen associated with the Sedalia Board of Trade had donated thirty-eight acres of this land to the railroad in 1897. These men also raised $100,000 to construct four brick shop buildings of up to an acre in size. The largest was served by 12 tracks and accommodated 24 cars at a time. There were half-dozen smaller buildings and an 80' by 725' “transfer table.” The shops, north across the tracks from the Katy’s stockyard, south of 20th St., and east of Limit, were served by approximately fourteen spurs off the main line. Peak employment of 898 was reached in World War I, after which employment erratically declined. The ground between the tracks and 20th Street remains vacant, but the old stockyard property south of the tracks and north of Clinton Road has been commercially developed. The site of the historic Barrett Hotel between Clinton Road and Grand Avenue is now a city park, named in the honor of the Katy Railroad.

312 E. Broadway - Smith-Cotton High School

Built in 1924, Smith-Cotton High School has been a timeless gift from Sedalia’s founding family. Sarah Smith-Cotton and Martha Smith, daughters of Sedalia’s founder George R. Smith, donated the tract of land, which housed the family home for the school. Designed by popular Sedalia architect T.W. Bast, Smith-Cotton regally stands on one of the highest points (920 feet) in mid-Missouri and has seen multiple generations pass through the doors.

1800 W. Broadway - Wheel Inn Drive Inn

This neon-lit landmark opened it’s doors in 1947. The horseshoe-shaped counter with a black linoleum running board greets the customer with a bit of nostalgia. A top-hatted cane-carrying peanut painted on the curved front glass entices customers to “Try our delicious guberburgers.” This restaurants main attraction is a hamburger spread with melted peanut butter. The restaurant is known to go through 5 pounds of smooth peanut butter in a day.

200 W. Broadway - Heard Memorial Club House

Construction began in 1904 and ended in 1906 on this Eclectic Italian Renaissance brick home, built by Congressman John T. Heard and his wife Lillian. Several outstanding features adorn this home including a large Venetian window of stained glass on the stairway landing between the first and second floor, as well as its parquet floors made of seven different kinds of wood arranged in various patterns. In 1934 Mrs. Heard bequeathed the home and its furnishings to the two oldest women’s organizations the Sorosis Club and the Helen G. Steele Music Club.

115 W. Broadway - Eddies Drive Inn

Built in 1937, this classic art-deco drive-inn was the forerunner for the popular hamburger restaurants in Kansas City, Missouri named “Winsteads” and was the first one west of the Mississippi. On warm summer Saturday evenings the parking lot becomes an area for classic-car buffs.

100 W. Ninth - Missouri National Guard Armory

The Sedalia Armory is one of the few remaining WPA projects in the city, and a good example of Art-Moderne style structures, emphasizing simplified streamlined form, smoothed-faced concrete exterior walls, rounded corners and horizontal emphasis. Work began on the Armory in December of 1940 and was completed in March of 1943. Located on a six-acre lot this concrete building consists of a two-story office wing, with and 85 x 100 foot barrel roof drill hall. Two incised artillery pieces flank each side of the main entry way, which faces south onto Ninth Street. Sold to a private owner in the spring of 2004, the Armory now has a new location just west of the Mathewson Exhibition Center on the Missouri State Fairgrounds.

With the reopening of the Katy Depot, Sedalia has come full circle from “end of track and trail” to Trailhead of the Katy Trail State Park. The Sedalia Heritage Trail is just one of the many exciting adventures awaiting you here. We hope you enjoy your visit to Sedalia and please come back whenever you have time to spare. Remember…we’re on your way.