Favorite thing: The longer you stay in St Joseph the faster you'll realize that Victorian mansions are a dime a dozen. Some have fallen into disrepair and now crown the more rundown neighborhoods, while others have been converted into thriving restaurants or B&Bs. Whether privately-owned as actual residences or crowning hilltops as museums or other offices, St Joseph makes great use of its Victorian architecture.
Visit the Pony Express Museum.
It's hard to imagine a lone rider setting out with saddlebags crammed with the hopes and dreams of families and friends of those who had moved to the western frontier. The riders traveled 2,000 miles to Sacramento, California. These were brave, young men who faced harsh weather conditions and terrain in their attempt to get the mail through. The museum has many exhibits, some you can interact with. There is a 70-foot diorama, showing the different terrain allong the route taken by the riders.It's hard to believe that out of the 120 riders who traveled 650,000 miles, only one was killed by indians, one schedule was not completed and one mail lost.
The Pony Express ran from April 3, 1860, to October 24, 1861, when the telegraph put it out of business. When the Pony Express delivered President Lincoln’s inaugural speech in 1861, it was their fastest time on record. They carried the mail from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, in seven days and seventeen hours, despite the harsh March weather.
For additional information on the Pony Express, go to:
Visit the Patee House Museum. Patee House was originally built in 1858 as a hotel. It also served as the headquarters for the Pony Express. Among its many exhibits, you can see the restored Pony Express office.
The museum is open year round, but only on Saturdays and Sundays (November - March). Admission is $4.00 adults, $3.50 seniors, $2.50 students, under 6 years - free.
Favorite thing: St Joseph is full of old churches from many denominations, yet where some are not endowed with wonderful stained glass or extensive sanctuaries, others have towering spires that mark their positions anywhere in the city. Red brick, quarried stone, and manifold details make St Joseph a interesting study even when speaking for its churches alone. Many of its examples rival almost every other church throughout the United States.
Favorite thing: Before the railroad linked the coasts in 1869, one of the few unbroken connections between the Mississippi River and the West Coast came through the Pony Express. Young riders would pitch through relatively unpopulated country where unknown dangers and hostile tribes often overlapped their routes, but in the history of the circuit precious few packages were ever lost. In 1940, the Pony Express monument rose at 9th and Frederick to commemorate this historical heritage.
Favorite thing: St Joseph possesses what many similarly-sized and larger cities lack, which is a wide open common in the city center. The Civic Center Park is bounded by the Pony Express monument, a hillside with a facsimile of the Statue of Liberty and a pocket of B&Bs (old Victorian homes), a few important churches and the imposing City Hall with its gorgeous Italianate architecture. Unlike many American counties, the war memorial resides here rather than on the courthouse lawn.
Favorite thing: As in most communities where the past is considered a treasure, St Joseph has converted most of its historical buildings into thriving businesses without transforming the buildings themselves. Between other (and less impressive) structures on Frederick Avenue, even listings on the National Register of Historic Places, are businesses such as the Frederick Inn Steak House & Lounge, an attractive structure with great appeal both inside and out, but better yet when the building is a century old.