What makes Blackwater---Historic
Blackwater is named for the Blackwater river that flows nearby. The river was
named after a Native American word that means black water. Blackwater Missouri
was founded in 1887 near one of the many coal and water stops for the Missouri
Pacific Railroad on the " river route" that connected the state capital, Jefferson City,
with Kansas City, Missouri. The town "boomed" to 600 residents in 1920. The
local quarry supplied stone for building roads and buildings. Cattle were penned
up headed for the famous stock yards in Kansas City. Farm produce was shipped
to market. Supplies, farm equipment and hardware arrived daily. This same
scenario was being played out all across the USA as the American dream was
unfolding. Sadly, the same transportation technology that built Blackwater was
almost it's demise. As it became easier for people to travel further for jobs and
it became more difficult for small merchants in rural areas to make a living. When
the railroads converted to diesel electric technology the trains no longer needed to
By 1990, most of the downtown buildings were in deplorable condition. Only four
businesses survived. Rather than allow the town to go away as many did, a few
residents came together to bring the spirit of Blackwater back. Organizations were
formed, Grants and bonds made a new sewer system and a better water supply,
A housing grant repaired homes of those on fixed incomes who could not do so,
Old time street lamps were donated, volunteer labor helped lay new brick
sidewalks. As fast as buildings could be renovated, shops moved in. Harold
Jones donated a magnificent original bank building for a telephone museum and
Flower gardens now bloom at every turn. The Saline county water garden club
donated a water garden. A 1905 church building was renovated to become the
West End Theatre and the original Iron Horse Hotel and restaurant was renovated
with 10 rooms and fine dining.
Today you can stand near the windmill over the original town well and close your
eyes and step back in time. You can almost hear the steam whistle and smell the
pungent coal smoke of the Missouri Pacific. You can almost hear the cattle
bellowing. You can almost hear the music and voices from the Arcade saloon.
You can almost ....
Come to Blackwater and browse unique shops and experience the enthusiasm
that moves this wonderful community.