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Jefferson City, Missouri

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City of Jefferson
Flag of Jefferson City, Missouri
Cole County Missouri Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Jefferson City Highlighted.svg
U.S. Census Map
U.S. Census Map
Coordinates: 38°34′36″N 92°10′25″W / 38.57667°N 92.17361°W / 38.57667; -92.17361Coordinates: 38°34′36″N 92°10′25″W / 38.57667°N 92.17361°W / 38.57667; -92.17361
CountryUnited States
CountiesCallaway, Cole
Named forThomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States
 • TypeMayor-council
 • MayorCarrie Tergin
 • AdministratorSteve Crowell
 • City ClerkEmily Donaldson
 • State capital and city37.58 sq mi (97.33 km2)
 • Land35.95 sq mi (93.11 km2)
 • Water1.63 sq mi (4.22 km2)
630 ft (192 m)
 • State capital and city43,079
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,146.33/sq mi (442.608/km2)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
FIPS code29-37000[4]
GNIS feature ID0758233[5]

Jefferson City is the capital of the U.S. state of Missouri. It is also county seat of Cole County. (The Jefferson City metropolitan area includes all of Callaway and Cole counties.) As of the 2010 census, the population was 43,079.[6] Jefferson City was named after Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States.

Jefferson City is on the northern edge of the Ozark Plateau on the southern side of the Missouri River near the geographic center of the state, in a region known as Mid-Missouri. It is at the western edge of the Missouri Rhineland, one of the major wine-producing regions of the Midwest.


In pre-Columbian times, this region was home of an ancient people known only as the Mound Builders. By the time European settlers began arriving, the Mound Builders had vanished into history. The contemporary indigenous peoples were called the Osage Indians. When the Missouri Territory was organized in 1812, St. Louis was the seat of government. St. Charles next served as the capital.

The new state legislature decided to build a new capital city in the middle of the state in 1821. They named it after Thomas Jefferson, who was still alive. A village was already there called Lohman's Landing.[7] For years the village was little more than a trading post located in the wilderness about midway between St. Louis and Kansas City. In 1826 the Missouri legislature first met here and in 1839 the settlement was incorporated as a city.

Jefferson City was selected as the site for a state prison and, in 1836, the Missouri State Penitentiary was opened. The prison was home to a number of infamous Americans, including: former heavyweight champion Sonny Liston, assassin James Earl Ray, and bank robber Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd.

Missouri State Penitentiary

During the American Civil War, Jefferson City was occupied by Union troops. Many of the people in the state supported the Union, although Missouri's Little Dixie section along the river in western counties was strongly Confederate.

German immigrants created vineyards in small towns on either side of the Missouri River, especially on the north from Jefferson City east to Marthasville outside St. Louis. Known as the Missouri Rhineland for its vineyards, first established by German immigrants in the mid-19th century, this area has become a part of the agricultural and tourist economy.


Jefferson City is located at 38°38′58″N 92°12′52″W / 38.64944°N 92.21444°W / 38.64944; -92.21444 (38.572954, -92.189283).[8] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.3 square miles (73 km2), of which, 27.2 square miles (70 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) (3.61%) is water.


Jefferson City is served by the Jefferson City Public School District, which operates Jefferson City High School, Simonsen 9th Grade Center, Lewis and Clark Middle School and Thomas Jefferson Middle School, and eleven elementary schools. The district is currently considering building a second high school. There are 4 private elementary schools: St. Joseph's Cathedral, St. Peter, Immaculate Conception, and Trinity Lutheran.Calvary Lutheran, Helias Catholic, and Lighthouse Preparatory Academy are Jefferson City's private high schools.

Lincoln University is a public historically black university with open enrollment and certificate, associate, bachelor, and graduate programs. Columbia College, Linn State Technical College, William Woods University, Metro Business College, and Merrell University also have locations in Jefferson City with varying degree levels and options.


Missouri State Capitol

Jefftran operates a public bus system year-round.[9] Jefferson City is one of four state capitols in United States that are not served by an interstate highway.[Note 1] Only four other state capitols nationwide share in this oddity. Interstate 70 passes by the city 30 miles (48 km) to the north, in Columbia. U.S. Highways in the city include U.S. Route 50, U.S. Route 54, and U.S. Route 63. Also Route 179 and Route 94 run through the city, giving it four highways that intersect with I-70. Jefferson City is also home to an Amtrak station.

Notable Citizens


  1. Pierre, South Dakota; Dover, Delaware; and Juneau, Alaska are the other four state capitals without interstate highways.


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