History & Points of Interest

Historic Village of Caledonia

Caledonia is the smallest incorporated town in Missouri with population 125. The Village is full of Historic Charm at the foothills of the Ozarks.

Points of Interest

  1. Oldest Masonic Lodge West of Mississippi
  2. Civil War History – Skirmish down Webster Rd. & Two Story Yellow Ramsey House was used as Civil War Hospital. Comfort Ruggies, a Revolutionary War soldier participated in the Boston Tea Part is buried in Presbyterian cemetery.
  3. Caledonia is on the National Association of Trail of Tears.
  4. Senator Vandiver lived and was President at the Caledonia College in late 1800’s, is best known for his speech on the Senate floor, paraphrased “I’m from Missouri Show Me,” The “Show Me State” was named after his speech!
  5. Caledonia is a National Historic District with 28 Homes & Businesses on the National Historic Register. One of these businesses is the coolest candy and ice cream shop you have ever seen! The Award Winning Old Village Mercantile is an authentic 1909 General Store on the National Historic Register originally called the “McSpadden Golden Rule Store.”
  6. Tourists come to step back in time to enjoy the Charm of Shopping in our Village. Stay at a 3 story Bed & Breakfast on National Register C. 1849 that serves up scrumptious breakfasts and delicious dinners. The Old Caledonia B & B & Natural Farm is complete with all of the amenities. While staying there enjoy the petting farm and meet Mr. Peacock. Enjoy in the Fall Rowe Crop Farm’s Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze. Winter opens Goose Creek Farm’s Christmas Trees.
  7. Caledonia is a Quilting Community. View Barn Quilts on all the Businesses & various homes & barns in area!
  8. Caledonia is known for being the Best place for Antiquing! 10 awesome places to shop for Antiques.
  9. Caledonia has a 7 acre park with a Country Barn that hosts Weddings & Festivals including Vintage Market Saturday after Mother’s Day, Pumpkin Fest 2nd Saturday in October (voted Best in Parkland),& Christmas Market 1st Saturday in December.
  10. Caledonia is known for its fun festivals & events every month! Just Junkin Market 1st Saturday of every month, Music Pickin in the Park – sit & relax & listen to acoustic Music 3rd Saturday every month 1-4 pm, Flea Markets & the tastiest Chocolate Walk & Christmas Open House that will get you in the Christmas spirit the Friday & Saturday before Thanksgiving.
  11. Caledonia is within 25 miles of many highly visited State Parks, Historic Sites, Hiking Trails, Lakes & Mountain Bike Park!
  12. Caledonia just 20 years ago was abandoned and buildings were empty. This Village is a true American comeback story with amazing people who have loved it back to life!
 Written by Muriel Akers
A view of Main Street, Caledonia, MO

Caledonia is a portion of the Miles Goforth Spanish Land Grant. Goforth sold the Caledonia portion of it to William Buford, who came from Virginia about 1812. Buford resold all of it to Alexander Craighead, a Scotsman, who planned to plat it. Craighead had it surveyed and advertised an auction, stating whoever bought the first lot could name it.  Craighead made it a point to buy the first lot and named the Village after his native Scotland (Caledonia is Latin for Scotland). Lots sold from $1.50 to $5.00 per lot in 1819. Craighead  built his home in the Village in 1816 and it is still standing today. However, this was not the first home in the Village.  Robert Sloan, who came in with the Scottish-Irish Presbyterians in 1808,  built his home where the Presbyterian Church was built later.

The first two businesses were Tom Sloan’s Blacksmith Shop and Fergus Sloan’s Brewery. The story goes that the latter did not last long because as  Jacob Launius, pastor of the Methodist church from 1836-37 wrote in his diary, “I have learned that the brewery did not exist very long, because right in the beginning the Methodists were having a Camp Meeting and everyone got religion but one old drunken ‘Sot'”. The brewery was out of business.
A scene on Main Street in Caledonia from years past.

The first addition to the Village was established by Rev. H. M. Long whose home was the Methodist Parsonage on Mill Street and whose date for pastoring the Methodist Church is likely between 1838-44. The second addition continued on down Mill Street and was owned by Cecil and Betty Campbell, becoming Campbell Addition.

The first school was built in 1804 where the Methodist Cemetery now is. A two-room school was built in Caledonia in the 1830s. The Bellevue Collegiate Institute was built by stockholders in 1864; the building was razed in 1952. In 1936 the Caledonia High School was built, it later served as an Elementary School, and it is still standing. Presbyterians and Methodists each built their first churches outside the Village of Caledonia.  The third Presbyterian Church was built in 1872 though the congregation dates to 1816 and is the oldest organized Presbyterian congregation west of the Mississippi River.  It is still in use.  The second Methodist Church was built in Caledonia and burned in the Great Fire of 1909. The present church was rebuilt on the site, dedicated in 1911, and is still in use.

The Tyro Masonic Lodge, built in 1919, was originally built as a store on the first floor with the Masonic Lodge on the second floor.  Chartered in 1825, it is the oldest continuously operating lodge in Missouri.