:: Tourism in Bates County

Bates County, Missouri is rich in local history.  From the first settlers who came as missionaries to the Osage Indians, through the turbulent Civil War years to more recent times, Bates County has a tremendous heritage. 


Bates County Museum

In 1961, the Bates County Historical Society was founded with a goal to preserve the history and wonderful artifacts of our past, and to educate those interested in our history. With these ideals as their goal, they purchased the 1892 County Jail [ seen to the right ] on the corner of Fort Scott and Lyons in the city of Butler, the county seat for Bates County. The Bates County Museum of Pioneer History was established and the complex grew to include the Atkeson log cabin, the Lindsey Stage Coach Depot and the Hastins building. A very popular attraction for both tourists and the local population, the museum has been a delight to visitors from every state in the union. The Bates County Historical Society has continued to promote events and speeches of interest to keep history alive and available during the past 40 years. The Museum was closed at this sight and moved to it's current location below. The Bates County Museum is now located on Elks Drive, just west of the city limits of Butler, Missouri. This 1915 building sits on 4.7 acres and plans are underway to create a village which would include an old school house, an early built church, general store and a log cabin.  

Papinville: The Original County Seat

Papinville is a small community on the southern edge of Bates county. It was the former Bates County seat, and the location of the first Bates County courthouse. The Papinville Historical and Cemetery Association was organized in 1989 and strives to preserve their history for future generations. Each year the Association holds a picnic on the last Saturday of September. Live music is performed from the band stand and a buffet supper is served. There is a one-room school house, built in 1895, which is completely restored and furnished with the original desks. The museum is filled with many interesting items about the beginning of Bates County and the history of the area. A "Stepping Stones of History" walkway [shown below] will walk you through history from 1673 to the present. In addition, the 1883 bridge [shown below] is being placed on the National Historical Register. The complex will be open on Sunday and Monday afternoons for the Memorial Weekend. Tours may be booked for other times by e-mailing papinmo@klmtel.net, calling 417-395-4288, or by writing The Papinville Historical And Cemetery Association, R. R. 1 Box 60, Rockville, Mo. 64780-9037.

Frontier Village


Frontier Village, in Adrian, Missouri, is owned and operated by the Western Missouri Antique Tractor and Machinery Association. The Association was formed in 1977 with Don Arndt as the founding president. Since then, the Association has grown over the years, to a membership of over 250 with members from Adrian, Missouri to Minnesota. The shows presented by the Association at the Village have more than 20 states represented along with some foreign countries.

The village was a result of interest in preserving history and old agricultural ways and produced its first gas engine show in 1982. The growth continued with the first building, a school, in 1983, a red barn in 1984, and now a total of 20 buildings with 2 more under construction. In addition, there are three county bridges donated to the Village from Bates County. On a state level, the Village has the largest steam engine, the largest separator, and the oldest portable running steam engine in Missouri.

Events include tractor and machinery shows, plowing, craft demonstrations, a train managed by Ronnie Essenpries and his crew, two saw mills (one of the two is a 120 year old saw mill from Clinton, Missouri and is still operational), tours, a museum, and activities vary from buggy rides to actual weddings.

Poplar Heights Farm

Poplar Heights Farm is a living history farm and nature conservancy in Bates County, Missouri. The farm supports and conducts programs to preserve the area’s past and offer educational opportunities to the region.

A 12 year restoration program has been completed. The family house, barns and extensive landscaping have been restored to their 1890's look. The Grand Opening Celebration was held in 2010 and Poplar heights Farm is now open to the public with programs, displays, demonstrations, a computerized research library for the history of Bates County and the Main House is a museum of period antiques showcasing life in rural Missouri at the turn of the 20th century.

 http://www.poplarheightsfarm.org/index.htm .


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