Brief History of Waverly Missouri

Waverly: a Missouri River Town

Located along the Missouri River, Waverly was founded in the 1840s.

Waverly, located in the Middleton Township in the northeast corner of Lafayette County was platted in 1845 as Middleton, Missouri--named because it was between Arrow Rock to the east and Lexington to the west. Residents of the area petitioned the Missouri General Assembly for a charter in 1848 and the name was changed from Middleton to Waverly after Waverly, Illinois, where one of the original settlers of the town came from.

The community contributed to the agricultural production of the region and in the antebellum period produced tobacco and hemp using slave labor. By 1860, slaves made up 47 percent of the total population of the county. At the end of the Civil War the demand for hemp and tobacco fell and the area farmers turned to corn and it became the area's major crop and they also turned to orchard production. At the end of the nineteenth century the County was one of Missouri's leading apple producers.

The town serviced the steamboats that come to the town to transport agricultural products from area farmers and farmers supported a small commerical district in the town.
The first post office opened in 1854; however, the town faced much competition from some of the more established river towns to the west like Lexington.

The steamboat traffic gave way to the rail traffic when in 1871, the Lexington and St. Louis railroad linked Lafayette County to Sedalia, Missouri, which served as a transfer point to the Missouri Pacific Railroad. A Missouri Pacific line linking Lexington, Waverly, and Jefferson City opened in 1877.

The railroad that serviced the farming community also serviced an emerging coal industry that developed in Waverly after the Civil War. The Waverly Coal and Mining Company operated the Buckhorn Mine, which featured a 125-foot deep shaft that contained a coal seam that was between three and eight inches thick. In 1900 the population of Waverly had blossomed to 722.

The one major transportation challenge that the community faced was that it was isolated from the communities north of the Missouri River and so city leaders began to plan for a public works project that would span the Missouri River.

Construction on the the Missouri River bridge at Waverly began in 1923 after voters approved a bond issue that helped pay a portion of the bridge's construction. The Missouri Valley Iron and Bridge Company received the contract and completed the construction of the bridge across the Missouri river in 1925. The bridge remained on the landscape until a replacement bridge was built in 2004 and the original 1925 bridge was torn down.

One of the homes that displayed the wealth of its citizens was the Napoleon Buck House, which was built in 1873 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Unfortunately, the home was later.....