Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Walk Around Downtown Washington, Missouri

LOCATED ABOUT 51 highway miles west of downtown Saint Louis, the City of Washington in Franklin County, Missouri is a quickly growing town that still manages to retain historic charm.

Here are some photos that I took during a walk around a few blocks of Washington's downtown, just before sunset.

Downtown Washington, Missouri, USA - street view of Saint Francis Borgia Church tower

The spire of Saint Francis Borgia Church is prominent. The church dates from 1869, and the parish was founded by twelve families from Hanover, Lower Saxony, who settled here in 1833. Early European presence here included the Spanish Fort San Juan del Misori, as well as frontiersmen who followed Daniel Boone here from Kentucky.

Downtown Washington, Missouri, USA - Washington Farmer's Market

Washington Farmers' Market hosts trendy parties on its patio and is in a building that dates from 1856.

The city is named after first U.S. President George Washington, and was originally called St. John's Settlement. When a ferry boat across the Missouri River was licensed here in 1814, the area became known as Washington Landing. The region of the present downtown was platted and subdivided in 1839, the year of the founding of the present City.

Downtown Washington, Missouri, USA - high covered porch

Washington has the largest number of nationally registered historic buildings in the state. The balcony on this building, I think, is a nice touch, and has a great unobstructed view of the Missouri River.

Downtown Washington, Missouri, USA - Lewis & Clark

Lewis and Clark slept here. At the time of their expedition, this area had the westernmost permanent European settlement in the Louisiana Purchase.

Downtown Washington, Missouri, USA - Bank of Washington

The newest building downtown, the Bank of Washington, is nearly complete, and incorporates some Victorian features.

Downtown Washington, Missouri, USA - winery

The oldest surviving wood frame building, dating from 1846. This is across the street from the old Washington waterworks, a delightful example of Victorian engineering design, which I completely neglected to photograph.

Downtown Washington, Missouri, USA - The Art Center

Downtown Washington, Missouri, USA - 1880 Bank

Old bank building, 1880.

Downtown Washington, Missouri, USA -house 1

Downtown Washington, Missouri, USA -house 2

Fine ornament on this home, built in 1888.

Downtown Washington, Missouri, USA - Old Dutch Hotel

Old Dutch Hotel. This is my favorite photo of the set.

Downtown Washington, Missouri, USA - Calvin Opera House

The Calvin Opera House, from 1909.

Downtown Washington, Missouri, USA - sign of the City of Washington 1839

These photos are only a small sample of the charm of this area.


  1. I simply note that the two temples of God are neatly balanced by the two temples of Mammon.

  2. Love all the photos from Washington Missouri! It is a wonderfully preserved town that proudly proclaims its German heritage. My great-grandfather, A.A. Fischer, who built the Calvin Theatre, and his, wife, Frances Petersen, were both born in Washington Missouri.