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De Soto

Trip Planner USA  /  Missouri  /  De Soto
(3.4/5 based on 40+ reviews for 1 attraction)
Things to do: nature
De Soto is a city in Jefferson County, Missouri, United States. The population was 6,400 at the 2010 census and is part of the St. Louis metropolitan area. The Van Metre family were first to settle in 1803.The town was organized in 1857 and is named for the explorer Hernando De Soto, who claimed the Louisiana Territory for Spain. De Soto was the city closest to the mean center of U.S. population in 1980. The city celebrated its Bicentennial in 2003. The city made national news on and after May 6, 2003, when straightline winds and a tornado struck.HistoryIncorporated in 1869, the City of De Soto is a third-class city with a population of 6,375 which utilizes the council-manager form of government.De Soto is located in the southeastern part of Missouri, approximately 45 miles south of St. Louis. De Soto is in Jefferson County, which is one of the fastest growing counties in Missouri.De Soto was part of the Louisiana Territory and was transferred from France to Spain and back to France again, and in 1803 was sold to the United States. During that same year, Isaac Van Metre came to the place that was later named De Soto and erected a cabin. A marker now stands to commemorate the first log cabin built in De Soto.In September 1859, the St. Louis Iron Mountain Railroad reached DeSoto and built a depot, later constructing a railroad car repair shop and roundhouse, among other faciliites. The Iron Mountain was acquired by the Missouri Pacific railroad in 1881, and the track, the car shops, etc. were operated by the Missouri Pacific as a part of their "DeSoto Subdivision" line until the Missouri Pacific was merged into the Union Pacific in 1982. Today, the train station, roundhouse, and much of the past railroad history is long gone, although the car shops are still in operation, the largest such facility on the Union Pacific, and the remains of the old turntable still exist.
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