Historic Sites

Relive yesterday with Clay.

Sites of Interest:

Hall of Waters

Excelsior Springs' rich history began in the late 1800's with the discovery of "healing" mineral water that flowed from the ground or could be tapped with deep wells.

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Jesse James Farm and Birthplace

Tour the restored childhood home back where the legend began. See a recap of the history of Frank and Jesse James and exploits of the outlaws, before walking the trail to the farmhouse.

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Mount Gilead School

Mt. Gilead School operated for over 100 years until it closed its doors in 1946. The present two story school was built in 1879. Historians believe that Mt. Gilead was the only school in the area to continuously hold classes during the Civil War.

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Jesse James Bank Museum

The Jesse James Bank Museum , located on the historic square in Liberty, Missouri, was the site of the nation's first successful daylight peacetime bank robbery. While the robbers were never caught, the crime was attributed to the infamous James Gang. Visitors see the bank as it was in 1866.

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Shoal Creek Living History Museum

The museum has twenty-one structures with seventeen authentic 19th century buildings dating from 1807-1885, nestled quietly in 80 acres of Hodge Park. Surrounded by trees and absence of modern civilization, this town brings the 1800's back to life. Our historic log cabins and homes were relocated from surrounding counties to create a village setting.

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Mount Gilead Church

Mt. Gilead Church was organized in 1830 as a Primitive Baptist Church, with services held in the homes of its members. In 1841 they became Mt. Gilead Christian Church erecting their first building in 1844; however, it burned in 1862. The church rebuilt in 1873 making the brick on site and the pews from trees on the property. Adjacent to the church is the cemetery, which was also founded in 1830 with stones dating back to the 1840's.

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Historic Pharis Farm

The story of the Pharis Farm begins in 1836, when Fielding Bell, the son of a Revolutionary War veteran, migrated to Clay County, Missouri from Mason County, Kentucky, via steamboat with his wife and eight children. The Bell family built a log cabin and established a farm on a site just a few miles north of the Missouri River.

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Watkins Woolen Mill State Park & State Historic Site

Established in 1839 by Waltus L. Watkins and his family, the Watkins Woolen Mill is a perfect destination for history buffs. Visitors touring the site get to take a look back into work and life in the 1800s. The three-story woolen mill building - complete with intact mid-nineteenth century textile machinery - provides guests with a close-up experience with the Industrial Revolution in rural America.

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Atkins-Johnson Farm and Museum

Built between 1831 and 1834, the Atkins-Johnson Farm and Museum is one of the oldest continuously occupied homes in Clay County. Originally built as a one-room log cabin, the home was converted into a four-room house in 1853 by the Atkins family. The museum displays Atkins family heirlooms and other artifacts found while restoring the home and the surrounding property.

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Clay County Museum

The Clay County Museum houses historical artifacts from around the county. There is a reading room within the library where visitors can peruse the museum's historical documents and articles - the museum charges an entrance fee for the reading room.

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Liberty Jail Historic Site

Explore local history at the Historic Liberty Jail. During the winter of 1838-1839, Mormon Prophet and leader Joseph Smith and five others were held in the Liberty Jail. A reconstruction of the original jail now stands inside a granite rotunda, making year-round visitations possible.

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