Cedar City, Missouri
Cedar City is an unincorporated community in southern Callaway County, Missouri, USA. It is located at 38.600774, -91.926727, opposite the Missouri River from the main part of Jefferson City and is near the interchange of U.S. Route 54 and U.S. Route 63. Jefferson City has annexed the interchange and is now next to Cedar City. The community was founded in 1870 and is named after the Eastern redcedar tree. It is part of the Jefferson City, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The site of Hibernia was a choice river landing site among French trappers and traders and also among the early Kentuckians of territorial and early statehood times, because of its natural harbor at the confluence of the river and two major streams. Hibernia established itself as a center for river commerce and early migration landing site for both keelboat and steamboat traffic on the river and remained strong in its position among river landings throughout the early steamboat period.
When Jefferson City was named, by Governor McNair, as the site for the capital for the State of Missouri, a number of Irish settlers came to work on the new capitol building. The site that they selected to settle was on the North bank of the Missouri River at the confluence with Cedar Creek and Turkey Creek. The name Hibernia was the name given to the river landing site and settlement by the first postmaster, Patrick McMasters Dillon. Hibernia was taken from the ancient Latin name of Ireland, and that name was well applied to honor the small settlement of Irish immigrants who had made their home there
In 1834, John Yount and William B. Scott, purchased patents on the lands in section sixteen on which the village of Hibernia and its river landing were situated. The land patent of William B. Scott bore the notation, “assignee, Cedar City Land Company”, foretelling the future of Hibernia. With the continued growth of Jefferson City and establishment of landings on the North bank of the river directly across from Jefferson City, and three miles to the East of Jefferson City, Hibernia’s position on the river was diminished. It remained a favored steamboat landing nonetheless. With the gradual loss of steamboat traffic and decline of steam boating itself in the 1870s, the village of Hibernia faded in prominence and gradually became known as Cedar City, with the name of the post office being changed to Cedar City in 1871. With this change the fate of Hibernia was sealed and was to gradually fade from memory.
The severe flooding along the Missouri River in the 1880s, and particularly 1888, significantly changed the course of the river leaving Cedar City and Hibernia Landing approximately one-half mile inland from the river. It also created a new confluence for Cedar Creek approximately four miles to the West. The days of Hibernia as a village and as a river landing were gone as a result of this flooding, with the only remembrance being the naming of the Chicago & Alton Railroad depot at Holt’s Summit as Hibernia Station.
Steamboats, such as the J.W. Spencer and J.L. Ferguson, made their respective contributions as local ferry boats operating in the decade prior to the construction of the first bridge crossing the Missouri River at Jefferson City. To the immediate southeast of Hibernia is that bridge, built privately by the Jefferson City Bridge Company, which crossed the river at Bolivar Street in Jefferson City to a site on the North shore in Callaway County. It was the opening of the newly constructed bridge that finally brought the steamboat era to a close in the Jefferson City area. The closing of steamboat traffic on the Spencer was celebrated along with the opening of the new bridge in 1895 and shortly thereafter the Spencer was sold and transferred to St. Charles, Missouri. In the immediate area is the developing future of Jefferson City with new bridge, water tower, railroad service, churches and state capitol building.
The contribution that these small river landings made to the growth and settlement of Missouri and points further west is immeasurable. Steamboat traffic made the Missouri River the superhighway to the West and brought a flood of immigrants on a means of transportation less fraught with the rigors of overland and keelboat travel, and at a cost that was much more affordable as time progressed. It was the steamboats that brought most of our German immigrants to the hills of Central Missouri and took our produce and products to markets elsewhere. Steamboating, as with other means of transportation and travel, gradually faded into the past leaving new venues of railroads, roads and bridges, and also air travel for our future.
Cedar City was a victim of the great flood of 1993. Most all of the buildings have since been torn down and its residents moved to higher ground. It's since been annexed by Jefferson City which lies directly south across the Missouri River and most of what used to be Cedar City is now part of North Jefferson City Park.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Eaton, David Wolfe (1916). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. p. 268.
- Communities of Callaway County - Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society