History: Then & Now

1719: Home to the Delaware, Shawnee, Kickapoo, Sac, and Fox, but largely dominated by the Osage Indians.   Pioneers begin to settle, mostly French.

1831: Lewis Bledsoe builds the first ferry across the Osage Arm of Lake of the Ozarks, enabling a boom in travel and freighting.

1835: Benton County is created and named for Thomas Hart Benton, Unites States Senator.

1837: The first Riverboats travel the Osage, stopping in Warsaw to deliver manufactured items needed by settlers, and picking up the raw goods harvested from the wilderness.  The steamboat era doesn’t last long, as they carried their own demise in the form of railroad building materials.

1843: The area is booming and the City of Warsaw is officially incorporated.  While the story behind its name has been lost to history, it is believed that the town was named after Warsaw, Poland, in honor of Polish General Tadeusz Kosciusko.

1857: The Mechanic’s Bank of St. Louis is built and operated until 1861 when General Fremont’s troops devastate the town. In 1903 it is remodeled into a jail and is still in use today.

1858-1861: The Butterfield Overland Mail Route made daily stops at what is now Reser’s Funeral Home.

1861-1865: The Civil War rages, Warsaw is demolished and burned.

1874: Warsaw reports a population of 500, 15 retail stores, 2 churches, two newspapers, and one each of hotel, school, bank, sawmill and flour mill.

1880: First train from Sedalia arrives in Warsaw.

1886: New courthouse building completed.

1895: Joe Dice builds the first suspension bridge in the area.  Originally called the Drake Bridge, and then the Middle Bridge, the Joe Dice Swinging Bridge is one of four remaining bridges built by Joe Dice.

1931: Lake of the Ozarks is constructed.

1945: Harry S. Truman takes the oath of office two hours after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  He was on Main Street, Warsaw, in what is now the Yellow Deli Cafe when he became Senator.

1979: Truman Dam is completed.

1985: Shawnee Bend Golf Course Installed

1997: First boat courtesy slips installed in Drake Harbor, along with the first section of the River Trails.

1997: Warsaw Municipal Airport constructed. Hangars and Terminal added in 1999.

2001: Renovation of  downtown Main Street

2008: Truman Lake Mountain Bike Park opened.

2009: Warsaw Riverfront Trails Phase II

2010: Work begins on Steamboat Landing Boardwalk in Drake Harbor.

2017: Shawnee Bend Bluff Trail opened.

2018: Warsaw receives two National Awards:  Complete Streets Policies, and Trail Connectivity.

2019: The Butterfield Stage Experience is created as the premier bike packing and gravel road riding route through Missouri.

2020: Warsaw receives the APA award “Great Places in Missouri” for Downtown and Drake Harbor Recreation Area.


Warsaw Firsts

  • Bank: Built in 1857, by Mechanics Bank of Saint Louis. It was closed in 1861 after General Fremont’s troops devastated Main Street. The building was bought in 1903 and remodeled into a jail, which is still being used today.
  • Courthouse: A 20 x 30 ft. log building at Van Buren and Washington (where county jail now stands)
  • Postmaster: Adamson Cornwall
  • Osage Arm of Lake of the Ozarks Ferry: Established in 1820, by Lewis Bledsoe
  • Warsaw Ferry: Ran by W.J. Fristoe on Jefferson-Springfield Road

Warsaw Weather Trivia

  • Warsaw holds the state record for the low temperature of -40 degrees on February 13, 1905.
  • Warsaw holds the state record for the high temperature of 118 degrees on July 14, 1954.

Warsaw Mayors

Year Mayor Year Mayor
1902 Henry P. Lay 1940 James A. Logan
1904 S.O. Davis 1944 J.S. Phillips
1908 W.S. Shadburne 1946 W.K. Shepardson
1910 H.G. Savage 1948 Guss C. Salley
1912 Jonathan Autrieth 1950 G.R. Bresse
1914 Charles Petts 1958 Guss C. Salley
1916 H.G. Savage 1962 Lawrence E. Meyer
1919 J.H. Savage 1966 Gordon H. Drake
1928 H.M. Ryan 1986 Mahlon K. White
1930 J.W. Estes 2000 James Bogart
1932 B.E. Eoff 2002 Lou Ann Breshears
1934 James A. Logan 2006 Ken Brown
1936 H. Riemenshnitter 2012 Eddie Simons


Warsaw Civil War Facts

  • April 23, 1861 – Crowd raises rebel flag on the east side of courthouse lawn in Warsaw
  • October 17-21, 1861 – General Fremont’s troops demolish Warsaw
  • November 22, 1861 – Warsaw burned by Union Army stragglers
  • February 13, 1862 – Major Ed Price, son of Sterling Price captured in Warsaw home
  • April 8-28, 1862 – Several skirmishes fought in and around Warsaw
  • October 7, 1862 – Skirmish at Warsaw
  • November 7-9, 1863 – Colonel Shelby’s troops burn Warsaw then march to Cole Camp

Awards and Recognitions

2019 Innovation Award for Tourism.  Pictured are Mac Vorce, Director Warsaw Chamber of Commerce, Randy Pogue, City Planner Warsaw, and Warsaw Mayor Eddie Simons.


2016: Purple Heart Recognition

In 2016 the City of Warsaw was presented the Purple Heart Special Recognition Award by The Patriot Members of the Department of Missouri, Military Order of the Purple Heart. In support of all military personnel, the City of Warsaw has purchased Purple Heart Signs and have placed them throughout the City in support of Purple Heart recipients and those who have been and who are currently in any of the armed services.  We Thank all Men & Women, for your service and efforts to defend our freedom.