Kingdom City is a village in Callaway County, Missouri, United States. It is part of the Jefferson City Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is at the intersection of Interstate 70 (concurrent with U.S. Route 40) and U.S. Route 54.
A Brief History of Kingdom City
Location: The Village of Kingdom City is located at the intersection of Interstate 70 and U.S. Highway 54.
Settlement: Kingdom City was incorporated in 1967. The name came from the county’s nickname, Kingdom of Callaway County.
The City began life as a bus stop. In 1927, when U.S. Highway 40 opened, Jack Lay built Lay's Cafe to serve as a regular bus company stop for meals. This was the beginning of a booming intersection for truckers and tourists.
McCredie: The small town of McCredie merged with Kingdom City in 1970. McCredie was founded on Sept. 20, 1871, by George P. McCredie on Section 4, Township 48, Range 9. The town was located 8 miles north of Fulton in Jackson Township. Although it never reached a population of 100, McCredie flourished in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Due to the prosperous farms surrounding it and the Chicago and Alton Branch Railroad, which was laid in 1872 from Mexico to Cedar City, McCredie developed the largest stock yards on the railroad and the largest mule shipping point in the State of Missouri. McCredie was hit hard by the Depression. The bank closed in 1929, and soon other businesses followed suit.
Economy: Ozarkland, a long-time popular tourist shopping mecca, opened in 1960. In 1965, I-70 was completed in Kingdom City, replacing U.S. 40 as the main highway through the center of Missouri. Gasper's Truck Plaza, Motel and Restaurant (which became a landmark) opened at the same time. Gasper's provided a full-service restaurant and fuel stop for nearly 40 years and was demolished and rebuilt with an Arby’s in 2006. The business was owned by the same Gasper-Atkinson family for over 50 years.
A new McStop complex opened in 1988, including a McDonald's, a separate convenience store and fuel pumps. In 1989, Petro Truck Stop opened across the road to serve truckers' needs. Lodging accommodations followed with Super 8, Days Inn, Quality Inn, Motel 6 and Holiday Inn Express hotels.
Education: The North Callaway High School opened in 1967, combining the high school students from each elementary school in the district.
Firefighters' Memorial: An important Kingdom City attraction is the Missouri Firefighters' Memorial. In 2002, the Heart of Missouri Tourism Center was constructed, along with the adjoining memorial mall dedicated to fallen Missouri firefighters. Granite walls and paving bricks, which are updated annually in an esteemed ceremony, hold names of honored firefighters. A bronze statue of a firefighter kneeling in prayer is a poignant focal point of the memorial. The original 3,000-pound bronze sculpture was created in Parma, Italy, and shipped to Kingdom City. While in route, it sat in customs in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. The Firefighters Association of Missouri and the statue's maker donated this statue to the New York City Fire Department to honor those killed by the attacks that occurred that day. A second bronze firefighter statue was then cast for the Kingdom City memorial and dedicated in 2002. The Firefighters' Memorial building was constructed in 2019, and funds are being raised to complete the interior, including the Educational and Historical Preservation Center.
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