Aerial view of Jefferson City, Missouri.

Jefferson City, Capital Of Missouri

Jefferson City is located at the heart of the US State of Missouri. Being the state's 15th most-populous city, Jefferson City also serves as the state capital and has been named after the nation's third President - Thomas Jefferson. The city's natural setting is stunning, and it is filled with numerous old structures and noteworthy landmarks. A few architectural wonders that support this distinctive community include the Missouri State Capitol, Supreme Court Building, Governor's Mansion, and the lovely Downtown. One must visit Jefferson City to discover why it has been dubbed "America's Most Beautiful Small Town"!

Geography And Climate Of Jefferson City

Downtown Jefferson City from across the Missouri River in Jefferson City, Missouri
Downtown Jefferson City from across the Missouri River in Jefferson City, Missouri. 

Jefferson City covers a total area of 97.33 sq. km, of which 93.11 sq. km is occupied by land, and 4.22 sq. km is covered by water. A significant portion of the city is in Cole County, with a small northern part extending into Callaway County. Jefferson City is the chief city of the Jefferson City Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is the Mid-Missouri region's second-most populous metropolitan area, and the fifth-largest in the state. Placed on the northern corner of the Ozark Plateau, Jefferson City is located approximately 209 km west of St. Louis and 242 km east of Kansas City on the southern banks of the Missouri River

According to the Koppen Climate Classification, Jefferson City experiences a humid continental climate, with hot, humid summers and short, bitterly cold winters. May and October are the ideal months to visit Jefferson City. The average annual temperature ranges from 24°F to 89°F, with occasional exceptions when it falls below 8°F or rises over 97°F. July is the year's hottest month, having an average daily high temperature of more than 79°F. Having an average daily high temperature below 51°F, January is the coolest month. On average, the city receives 14 inches of snow and 43 inches of rain annually.

Brief History Of Jefferson City

The historic Cole County Courthouse in Jefferson City, Missouri
The historic Cole County Courthouse in Jefferson City, Missouri. Editorial credit: Logan Bush /

The present-day Jefferson City area was initially inhabited by pre-Columbian people known solely as the Mound Builders. The Mound Builders had long since disappeared into history by the time European settlers started to arrive. The Osage Indians were the modern-day native population. The Missouri state government agreed to build a new town when they chose a place for the state capital in 1821. Before deciding on the name "Jefferson City" in honor of Thomas Jefferson, the legislature contemplated the name "Missouriopolis." In 1826, the general legislature changed the location of the state capital from St. Charles to Jefferson City.

Other municipalities made repeated attempts to change the location of the capital city. The Capitol burned in 1837, destroying all state records in the process. On the current Capitol building site, a new statehouse was erected five years later. The second capitol was ultimately destroyed to make room for an expanded state legislature. A significant flood caused large-scale devastation, but by the 1990s, the city had entirely recovered. The 2000s have started strong for Jefferson City, which is known for its resilience, comparatively inexpensive cost of living, and high per capita income.

Population And Economy Of Jefferson City

As per the latest US Census, Jefferson City has a population of 43,228 inhabitants. The city's population has increased by 0.07% from the most recent census, and at present, it is currently increasing at a pace of 0.03% annually. White (Non-Hispanic) (86.1%), Black or African American (Non-Hispanic) (7.64%), White (Hispanic) (2.2%), Two+ (Non-Hispanic) (1.75%), and Asian (Non-Hispanic) (1.03%) are the five largest ethnic groups in Jefferson City. The city's average household income is $68,389 per year, with a poverty rate of 11.93%. In recent years, the median rental cost has been $653 a month, while the median cost of a home has been $161,400. The median age is 37.9 years, with 37.4 years for men and 38.9 years for women.

In addition to a robust job market, the city has a low cost of living and a high standard of living. The state government is the main employer in the city, and the majority of people work for the government. As the state capital, Jefferson City draws and keeps a workforce with a high level of education and training. The economic foundation of Jefferson City is comprised of more than 20 different industrial sectors, including government, manufacturing, healthcare, banking, tourism, and hospitality. It guarantees a large talent pool for local businesses and continues to draw new companies, which leads to job growth. A commercial hub for local agricultural products is also located in Jefferson City. Wheat, soybeans, and corn are the three main cash crops grown.  

Attractions In Jefferson City

Missouri State Capitol

Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City during the day.
Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City during the day.

Missouri's state Capitol, which dominates the skyline in all directions, stands as a memorial to its people. The structure is perched on a limestone bluff on the Missouri River's southern bank. The core of it is 300 feet broad and 437 feet long. The dome's peak rises 262 feet above ground level. The structure, which is 3 acres in size and has 500,000 square feet of floor area, is a literal museum of public art, notable not only for the caliber and quantity of its works but also for how accurately they represent the themes, events, and people of Missouri.

Binder Park

Binder Park is the biggest park in the city and covers a total area of 644 acres. The park features numerous picnic spots, as well as several walking and biking pathways. The terrace can accommodate up to 75 guests for a party and is available for rental as a shelter. An 18-site full hookup RV park with laundry and shower facilities is available to campers at Binder Park. Northwest of the park is where an 18-hole disc golf course is located.

The Lewis and Clark Monument

Lewis and Clark Monument in Jefferson City, Missouri
Lewis and Clark Monument in Jefferson City, Missouri. Editorial credit: Paul Brady Photography /

The Lewis and Clark Monument is a stunning monument created in honor of the famous explorers. Beautiful greenery and waterfalls surround the memorial. The city's riverfront grounds were the site of the monument's dedication in 2008. It is one of Jefferson City's most visited monuments. 

Missouri State Museum

At the entrance of the Missouri State Museum in Jefferson City, Missouri
At the entrance of the Missouri State Museum in Jefferson City, Missouri. Image Credit: Mostatemuseum09, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The first floor of the State Capitol houses the Missouri State Museum, which opened its doors in 1919. It illustrates Missouri's history from the time before the deportation of the Indians to the present. It is a showcase museum that seeks to inform visitors about the state's culture and history through various artifacts, displays, exhibitions, and other hands-on activities. More than 30,000 items make up the museum's outstanding collection, including a vast collection of flags.

The Governor’s Mansion

Historic Missouri Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City
Historic Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City, Missouri. Editorial credit: Paul Brady Photography /

Discovering more about Missouri's state capital can be done by taking a tour of the historic Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City. The founding family of the state resides in this mansion, which was built in 1871. While admiring the exquisite period furnishings and architecture, one can discover the history of Missouri's governors. The structure is managed by a skilled group of volunteers known as docents and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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