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Things to do in St. Joseph

    Jesse James Home Museum Jesse James Home Museum St. Joseph, Missouri
    The Jesse James Home Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri is the house where the infamous outlaw, Jesse James lived and was shot down, in the back, by Robert Ford, in April, 1882. At that period, the house was located at 1318 Lafayette Street in St. Joseph, until in 1939, it would be moved to a busier Beltway location, and then again in 1977, it would be moved for the final time to behind the famous Patee House at 12th and Mitchell, just two blocks from where it had original been sitting. The final move would return some of the historic context of the area, and create a better understanding of its locations. The investigation of the shooting would be held at the Patee House Hotel, that had been called World's Hotel, with Mrs. James, their two children and Jesse's mother would stay in the hotel for two nights after he was murdered. In the north interior wall, there is a large bullet hole, which was smaller, but as the years passed by, souvenir collectors would carve shavings out of the hole, causing it to enlarge. The house has a few items owned by the James family, and in 1995, top forensic scientist Professor James E. Starrs, of George Washington University conducted an exhumation of the grave to determine the truth about the remained buried there. In February, 1996, he stated that the DNA tests that had been done on the remains and its comparison to the DNA of existing known relatives proved a 99.7% reliability that the body in the grave was really Jesse. The museum contains new exhibits that are based on the 1995 exhumation, that include relics like the coffin handles, pieces of wood, and a pin that Jesse wore in his death photo, plus many photographs that had been taken during that exhumation. His house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.  Jesse had been shot in the back as he was straightening out a picture, while standing on a chair, by Ford who had been a member of his gang and collected a $10,000 reward that was offered by Governor Tom Crittendon. Jesse was 34 when he died, after spending 16 years as a outlaw.

    Krug Park
    Krug Park St. Joseph, MissouriKrug Park in St. Joseph, Missouri is a big city park with Italian renaissance structures, flowerbeds and expansive landscapes. Sitting on 163 acres, the park contains a lagoon, rose gardens, scenic walkways, amphitheater, playgrounds, picnic spots, Italian castle and the structures mentioned earlier. There is a magnificent North American native animal display containing longhorn cattle, buffalo and deer, and the park is lit up during the holidays and is called Holiday Park. The park is considered the city's oldest park, being developed before any other parks, when Henry Krug donated 10 acres of land to the city to be used only for a public park; on the conditions that no intoxicating liquors should ever be kept, sold or disposed of in or upon the premises, neither any gambling be permitted. It is kept in excellent condition, under the watchful eyes of the police and spends $2 million a year to keep it that way.

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    Pony Express MuseumPony Express Museum St. Joseph, Missouri
    The Pony Express Museum in Saint Joseph, Missouri is a transport museum that has documented the exciting history of the Pony Express, which was the first express mail route across the United States, beginning in Missouri and going to the Pacific Coast. It has been located in the old Pikes Peaks Stables where the Pony Express riders started their mail run west. Just imagine the thoughts of that first rider that set out on the 2000 mile trek west, throwing his saddlebags on his horse, in St. Joseph, and beginning a journey that would help unite the two coasts of this great country, knowing he would be hindered by wild storms, amazing terrains and the constant threat of death by the wild Indians, located all along the way. The stables invite you to come and discover this absolutely exciting story, with outstanding exhibits and interesting tales of how the west was really won, and the people that helped make it happen. The museum houses many interesting, state-of-the-art displays that showcase and describe these wonderful times from the past, including the reason that they created the Pony Express, how they did it and the initial operation and struggles that had to be overcome to continue this incredible journey and the reasons behind its ending. The Pony Express was started by Alexander Majors, William H. Russell and William B. Waddell, initiated by the growing threat of a Civil War and the immediate need for a faster way to communicate with the western territories. The Pony Express began with relays of men and horses, along a 2000 mile route, carrying saddlebags filled with mail, the only quick means of relatives in the east being able to communicate faster with their family and friends in the west. It began on April 3, 1860, when riders at both terminals left the same day from St. Joe and Sacramento, with the journey west taking 9 days and 23 hours, and the eastern journey took 11 days and 12 hours, with the riders traveling 250 miles per 24 hour day. At their peak, the express had over 100 stations, between 400 and 500 horses and 80 riders, and even though it was an extremely dangerous job, there was only one mail delivery lost. The Pony Express lived for just 19 months, closing in October, 1861, when the Pacific telegraph ended the need for it. California would continue to use the riders in the early days of the Civil War, but the Pony Express would never turn a profit, and the investors went into bankruptcy. But because of the incredible and often, insurmountable odds, the Pony Express became a part of this nation's history and legacy, and today is one of the most exciting legends in the west.

     Missouri Theater
    Missouri Theater St. Joseph, MissouriThe Missouri Theater in St. Joseph, Missouri lives in a 1927 restorated movie palace as a modern center for the arts, seating 1200, and decorated in pre-Persian motif. This architectural jewel was designed by the Boller Brothers, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. As many of these historic structures were being destroyed to make room for more modern buildings, throughout the nation, the community in St. Joe refused to permit the destruction of the nation's few examples left of the Hollywood-Oriental style. The theater has developed a magnificent schedule for visitors coming to the city for whatever reasons, so you can experience various shows throughout the year. The interior was designed for the more elite of any city, so when the people arrived for a show, they were often more impressed with the stylish plush seating, the elaborate plaster works and the elegant chandeliers. The theater enjoyed a $1.9 million restoration project in 2001 through 2002, with cleaned upholstery, remodeled dressing rooms, restroom facilities added, with modern, improved handicap accessibility, modernized lighting and sound systems, new carpeting and repaired plaster. It is still so impressive that newcomers, or first timers arrive and are actually awed by the interior, as well as exterior designs and properties.

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Local Restaurants in St. Joseph

    Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill
    Entrees; with choice of 2 sides; top sirloin 9oz., Original Whiskey Creek Flat Iron steak 12oz., bacon-wrapped filet mignon 8oz., KC strip 11oz., big porterhouse 20oz., T-bone 16oz., ribeye 12oz., Jim Beam sirloin marinated daily 9oz., Whiskey Creek Branding Iron steak 7oz., chopped steak 10oz., basted peppercorn ribeye 10oz., wood-fire prime rib 10 or 16oz., prim rib 10 or 16oz., wood-fired prime rib 10 or 16oz.; pan seared tilapia topped with choice of roasted red pepper sauce, corn relish or warm pineapple salsa with oriental rice & choice of 2 sides; chicken fried is hand breaded chicken or sirloin steak, with country gravy & choice of 2 sides; chicken tender dinner fried with FF, Whiskey Creek cole slaw & honey mustard; pot roast smothered in homemade brown gravy choice of 2 sides; sizzling fajitas is fire-grilled steak or chicken over sautéed peppers & onions on sizzling platter; marinara penne pasta with sweet Italian sausage, sautéed onions, roasted red & green peppers, mushrooms tossed in hearty marinara sauce with penne pasta; penne alfredo is smokey blend of house pulled pork, button mushrooms, red onions, tossed with creamy alfredo sauce & penne pasta; pollo fettuccini tossed in parmesan cream sauce with sun-dried tomatoes & fire-grilled chicken; rattlesnake pasta is grilled chicken breast & fettuccini, tossed in spicy alfredo sauce; baby back ribs; St. Louis style ribs hickory smoked, slow cooked, pork ribs finished on wood-fire grill; pulled pork is hand-rubbed with house special seasonings, slow cooked & hickory smoked; BBQ chicken is slow cooked, half chicken basted with Legend BBQ sauce & finished on wood-fire grill; rib & meat combo is half slab of either baby back or St. Louis ribs and choice of pulled pork or overnight brisket.

    Bandana's Bar-B-Q
    Famous platters are served with garlic bread, choice of 2 sides: FF, BBQ beans, cole slaw, potato salad, green beans or baked potato, or famous fried corn; slab of ribs dry rubbed with perfect blend of seasonings & hickory smoked; combo platters is choice of BBQ pork, beef, chicken, turkey or famous ribs; dinner platters are; BBQ rib platter is half slab of St. Louis ribs hand rubbed & slow smoked over hickory logs; BBQ pork & beef is 4 oz. of tender pulled pork & 4oz. of chopped BBQ beef; BBQ pork platter is half pound of pork, slow smoked; BBQ beef platter is USDA choice midwestern beef, hand rubbed with house secret blend of spices & seasonings, smoked slow over hickory logs; BBQ turkey platter is half pound of turkey breast; BBQ chicken platter is half chicken hand rubbed & hickory smoked, thigh, leg, breast & wing.

Pan Seared Tilapia Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill St. Joseph, Missouri


Pot Roast Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill St. Joseph, Missouri


Pollo Fettuccini Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill St. Joseph, Missouri


BBQ Turkey Bandana's Bar-B-Q St. Joseph, Missouri


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    Patee House Museum Patee House Museum St. Joseph, Missouri
    The Patee House is also called the Patee House Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri was finished in 1858 to be opened as a 140 room luxury hotel, located at 12th and Penn Streets, and became one of the most famous hotels west of the Mississippi. It was constructed by John Patee to become a part of his plans to develop Patee Town around the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad station. The structure had office spaces that belonged to the Pony Express, with its headquarters and eastern terminus located there, that had started there in 1860 to offer the fastest overland mail service to the west coast, and during the Civil War, the Union Army provost marshal's office was there, with the army holding their war trials in the second floor ballroom. Once the war ended, the Patee Female College opened in 1865 and operated there until 1868, with their offices taken over by the St. Joseph Female College that ran from 1875 until 1880; which had been created in affiliation with the Baptist Church. The private school, like so many across the country, had been part of the postwar campaign to create educational institutions for young women. When Jesse James was murdered in 1882, his family and mother would stay at the hotel for two days, while the investigation into his death was conducted. At that time, the hotel was called the World's Hotel, and sometime later, it would converted to contain the R. L. McDonald shirt factory, and then various light industrial businesses for the next eight decades. In 1963, the structure would become a museum of American history, but with emphasis on transportation. The 1860 Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad steam engine and 1877 railroad depot are now housed inside, and in 2008, it would be chosen as one of the Top Ten western museums in the nation by True West magazine. It would also be chosen to be one of the top 1000 places in the nation and Canada to see before you died. The structure would become a National Historic Landmark for the part it had with the Pony Express, housing its headquarters, and is also named as the eastern terminus for the Pony Express National Historic Trail. Also located on the grounds of this excellent and historical hotel is the Jesse James Home museum.

    Buchanan County Courthouse
    Buchanan County Courthouse St. Joseph, MissouriThe Buchanan County Courthouse in St. Joseph, Missouri is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, placed there in 1962, and is a cruciform, renaissance revival style of structure, with outstanding embellishment in the Romano-Tuscan motif, although mainly in the window treatments, with pediment porticoes that are set in the Corinthian order that add dignity and importance to it. The windows showcase the Victorian influence in their verticality and a dome is atop the courthouse where the wings intersect. It was constructed of red brick, then painted white, with stone columns, decorative detailing, glass and tin dome and window trim. The huge foundation were constructed of stone ashlar with a rough texture exterior, with wood doors and moldings between the window lights. There are three porticoes, identical to each other, with one on the west, east and south, containing four tall aptly proportional fluted Corinthian columns that were actually carved by a local stone cutting company called J. Pfeiffer and Son. The column sit upon huge block bases, with pediment and entablature, supported by the columns, with simple modillions and dentils; with brick used to match the wall surface of the courthouse in the triangular spaces of the pediments. The building is undoubtedly a magnificent architectural treasure that the city is very proud of and is why it has stood through the tests of time. The courthouse is important because of various reasons, with one being the only one of three in the state that was constructed using the renaissance revival style and because it was gutted by fire in 1885, but it was the insurance companies that wouldn't allow the city to demolish it and rebuild another, more modern building in its place, but had the interiors remodeled. Another historical reason for the importance of keeping the old courthouse is that it had been the scene of the trial of the Ford brothers for their murder of Jesse James. It is third courthouse that had been constructed on the site since the county was established in 1839, with the first coming into existence in 1841 as a log building that held two rooms, but constructed in the town of Sparta, that is located near the center of the county. That building also served as a place of worship, academy of learning, an opera house and a forum for the community, however, in 1842, an appropriation of $6000 was acquired to construct a new courthouse. It was to be constructed in Sparta, but when a conflict between that town and Blacksnake Hills arose, the decision was made to move it to St. Joseph. By 1871 it was condemned as being unsafe, so a new courthouse was started in 1873.

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    Missouri Valley Trust BuildingMissouri Valley Trust Building St. Joseph, Missouri
    The Missouri Valley Trust Building in St. Joseph, Missouri was constructed in 1859 and opened as the St. Joseph Branch Bank of the State of Missouri, making it one of the oldest structures in the city. After time passed, the bank changed hands, becoming the Missouri Valley Trust Company in 1900, until 1988, when the president of the company passed on and the trust closed. By then, it was believed to be the oldest structure west of the Mississippi River that had been used as a financial institution, with both sides of the Civil War using its services. There is a legend that Jesse James looked it over, to decide whether or not to rob it, just a week before he was murdered in 1882. The building was listed with the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

    Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art
    Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art St. Joseph, Missouri
    The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in St. Joseph, Missouri houses one of the best collections of 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st century American artworks in the Midwest beginning in 1913, by the St. Joseph Art League. The league included 12 women that wished to increase the community's understanding of the arts and public awareness, through educational programs, publications, performance arts and events. Hoping to begin a public art museum, the league purchased the William Merritt Chase painting called A Venetian Balcony, using funds that had been collected at teas, performances and a very special showing of the painting in one of the local department stores. In 1966, the league opened the Albrecht Gallery in the old house that had belonged to Mr. and Mrs. William Albrecht, and when it expanded in 1991, it would become the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, giving honor and prestige to R. Crosby Kemper. With the outstanding support and generosity of the Kemper family and other foundations, as well as local supporters, the museum has continued to grow and expand, and now includes; excellent examples of American impressionism, colonial portraits and a treasure of American landscape paintings. Some of the highlights of this magnificent collection include; Mary Cassatt's pastel, Mother Looking Down Embracing Both of Her Children, that had been a study for an oil painting of the same subject that hangs in the White House, urban realist paintings from the Ashcan School, outstanding contemporary works by American masters, Custer's Last Stand by Thomas Hart Benton and one of the area's most complete holdings of 19th and 20th centuries works on paper. The museum has excellent guided tours of the permanent collection and special exhibitions, as well as numerous special programs that complement and augment the museum's outstanding exhibitions that include gallery talks, performances, child and adult art classes and film series. It also houses excellent instructional slides and videos that showcase topics in art and history that are ready for loan to educators in the northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri regions. It also houses a fabulous reference library with some 2500 volumes, the history of art, a collection of periodicals and other materials and items that pertain to the permanent collection; and a great gift shop that offers hand crafted jewelry, ceramics, games, postcards, books and note cards.

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    National Military Heritage MuseumNational Military Heritage Museum St. Joseph, Missouri
    The National Military Heritage Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri that opened in 1989, as a nonprofit to preserve and collect the military heritage of the nation, and to operate that museum, that was started by a group of people that included Lt. Colonel Franklin A. Flesher, USA (retired). It has collected more than 10,000 books, magazine articles and videos that pertain to the military's history that have been catalogued by the Missouri Western State University library and the Library of Congress to be included in the museum's library for resources of research for all students, military members and veterans. It also takes part in the Library of Congress Oral History Program, since it has been authorized to be the repository for oral histories. The museum has collected more than 20,000 relics that contains models, medals, equipment, uniforms, vehicles, dioramas, gear, gifts, displays, weapons, exhibits and so much more that is contained in existing active exhibits or has been placed in storage within the museum's complex. That complex includes four buildings that are located near 701 Messaine in St. Joseph, with the main structure retaining importance in the region as the first police station of St. Joe. It had also been the place where the US Marine Corps Reserve Training Center was housed for the 1st 105mm Howitzer Battalion. The marines located around the region who had mustered here were called to duty in 1950 and began serving with the First Marine Division at the infamous Chosin Reservoir campaign in Korea. It was designed by Harvey Ellis, a well known architect during that period, and constructed in 1890, in a Romanesque style that had been a trademark of Ellis' and has been an excellent addition to the eclectic architecture of the city. It has been proposed for the National Registry of Historic Places and is awaiting approval as this is written.  Collections include insignia, branches of the service, library, exhibits, vehicles and uniforms from every branch of the service, as well as those that served at the home front and the Coast Guard. Some of the outstanding exhibits include the 1/19 scale of the Vietnam Memorial wall, with index catalog, two uniforms of WWI with one belonging to the former First Lt. Albert Troxel, that had been a pilot in the Army Air Corps that would become the forerunner of the US Air Force, with his original wings, officer's cap, flying gloves, three service stripes and red wound stripe. The other is a WWI US Army enlisted man's uniform with cartridge belt, brown shoes, wool putins (leggings) and gas mask in carrier. 

    St. Joseph Museum
    St. Joseph Museum St. Joseph, MissouriThe St. Joseph Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri is the oldest of the four museums in the St. Joseph Museums, Inc. system that started out in 1927 as the Children's Museum of St. Joseph, dedicated to the natural and cultural history of the city. The museum was moved to its present location in 2005 and the development of the exhibits has been ongoing, although it is quite well known for its excellent and expansive Native American collection and displays that include; jewelry, clothing, kachinas, fans, archaeological relics from ten cultural area in North America, pottery, weapons and pipes, and now houses a wonderful collection of Lewis and Clark expedition artifacts, although putting much emphasis on the traveling that they did through the northwest parts of the state.

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    Twin Spires Religious MuseumTwin Spires Religious Museum St. Joseph, Missouri
    The Twin Spires Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri is one of the best examples of architecture in the city that is now a historic landmark church with exquisite stained-glass windows that is open for tours, special events and weddings. The Church of the Immaculate Conception initially began as a German national parish in 1860, as a wood frame church constructed on the southeast corner of Angelique and 10th, but in 1864, it would be destroyed by a terrible windstorm that swept through the town, and replaced with a brick structure in 1867. By 1908, it would be taken down and replaced with the current structure, designed by Edmund J. Eckel and finished in 1910. There are 37 beautiful stained glass windows, with 12 of them from the original and show the life of Mary, created by Frei Studio of St. Louis. The parish of Saints Peter and Paul, organized as a Polish national parish in 1883, began worshipping in the church, and in 1977, the two would merge and become the Queen of the Apostles Church. The hand-carved stations, prickly Gothic wood high altar and statuary were moved from the old church of the parish to this one, when they moved, but it would be closed in 1992, by the diocese of Kansas City and St. Joseph. It was then deeded over to a nonprofit and renamed Twin Spires, with the organ being sold before changed hands, and the nonprofit began creating a religious history museum along with rejuvenating the old church. The St. Joseph Museum assumed management of the church in 2002, and then sold it to private investors, Linda and Ed Hood, that are operating it as a wedding chapel and reception hall, as well as offering pubic tours.

    Robidoux Row Museum
    Robidoux Row Museum St. Joseph, MissouriRobidoux Row Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri was constructed by Joseph Robidoux, the founder of the city and houses outstanding exhibits that describe the city's early history as well as the family's history with numerous rooms still housing his family's personal belongings. Joseph Robidoux was a fur trader that had been around the St. Joe region for many years, so when he started the small settlement, he soon realized that they weren't enough houses for the immigrating or migrating families to live in so he constructed an array of seven houses or in today's vocabulary, apartments, that sat on the north side of his new settlement, although there are only four of them remaining and they have been renovated. The East Building has been converted to a house museum that includes Robidoux's personal quarters, that is still filled with many of his personal possessions and various period pieces, as well as a wintering room the way it would have been seen by pioneering families on the westward move and used as a temporary shelter.  The construction for the apartments were started in the 1840s and finished in the late 1850s, and was named the Robidoux Row, although its completion would be semi-sweet since his wife, Angelique passed on in 1857, and he moved into the east end, living there until his death in 1868. The remainder of the housing has been named the West Building, and is used as headquarters for the Saint Joseph Historical Society and includes a gift shop, library, service areas and society history.

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