La Plata Square Historic District - La Plata, Missouri
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
N 40° 01.397 W 092° 29.481
15T E 543403 N 4430465
Marker giving history of the small town of La Plata, Missouri.
Waymark Code: WMHD51
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 06/25/2013
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
Views: 5

Text marker:

La Plata Square Historic District

The La Plata Square Historic District boundaries include parts of South Gex Street, West Sanders streets, and East Moore Street.  These properties are historically associated with services, recreation, and trades bordering and including the City Park.

Most of the businesses around the square focused on local citizens.  Movie theatres, taverns, doctors, trade-stores, societies and government bodies served the everyday needs of citizens of La Plata, since the towns platting in 1855.  While this public square is much diminished in its commercial viability, the buildings surrounding the square serves as a standing reminder of the trades and services and endured here for over a 100 year period.

Drury Davis, as early pioneer is credited with settling the La Plata area in 1827, by establishing a trading post 1/2 mile west of our present town.

On March 17, 1855, a young surveyor, Henry O. Clark met with other men of vision: Louis Gex, Theodore Saunders and Dr. W.W. Moore.  After accepting Clark's plat of the town, the men selected streets to be named after themselves.  Gex, Saunders (Sanders), and Moore Streets now surround our City Park.  Henry Clark chose a street one block south of the square, which bordered his fathers land.

La Plata's name came to be what it is, only by chance.  There were suggestions from all the men as to what the name should be, so each tossed his choice in a hat.  The name drawn was La Plata, Dr. Moore's choice.  Dr. Moore had mistakenly thought it to be French, meaning "the city of the silver river".  In fact, La Plata is Spanish for "the silver."  These early settlers felt that La Plata's location on a great expanse of native grasses looked like a silver river.

The small town grew and prospered as a farming hub and soon had businesses that were mostly farming related, including a grist mill, blacksmith shop and creamery.  Later, chicken and turkey hatcheries became major industries in town, as well as a fur business that reached international proportions.

The North Missouri Railroad, later called the Wabash Railroad, came through La Plata in 1867.  The rail line lasted until 1993, when the last local trail traveled through Lat Plata.  Removal of the system began in 1994.

In 1887, the Santa Fe Railroad chose La Plata as a stop on its route, making the town the crossroads in Macon County for these two major railroads.

In 1912, the Prairie Pipeline was the first of the great oil pipelines to building through La Plata.  Later the Sinclair Pipeline also built through town and remains today under the name BP Pipelines, North America.

La Plata is the home of Lester Dent, 1904-1959, the prolific author of the 1930's pulp fiction books "Doc Savage".  The Dent Home, along with the Gilbreath-McLorn House and the Doneghy House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Olive Gilbreath McLorn was a world traveler and war correspondent during the Russian Revolution and John T. Doneghy was a local businessman and banker.

La Plata celebrated its Sesquicentennial in July 2005, with a week long celebration.

Erected by the Friends For Lat Plata Preservation, 2009

Web link: [Web Link]

History of Mark: Not listed

Additional point: Not Listed

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