The Johnson County Historical Society maintains five buildings on the original courthouse square in Warrensburg, Missouri. Research facilities in the Mary Miller Smiser Heritage Library provide patron access to original county documents, newspapers, photographs and records, as well as family and subject files, collected for almost 100 years. The mission of the Society is to maintain the facilities, archive our collective history and to make the materials available for research.
The JCHS was originally founded in 1920 and reactivated periodically before its incorporation in the early 1960s. A shared goal was the purchase and renovation of the 1840s Old Courthouse and renovations began in 1965. The building had been used as a home for over 70 years, but before that had witnessed settlement, slavery, legal disputes, border troubles, the Civil War, the notorious Vigilance committee and the trial of the dog, Old Drum.
In 1982, funded by Sam and Sue Smiser, a dedicated Library and Museum was built on the adjacent property. Members and supporters came forward with matching funds to provide for an endowment to support operations. Archives, collected since the 1920s and are now catalogued and housed at the Main Street location. In 1996, the one room school from the town of Elm in western Johnson County was moved to the grounds. A bequest from Zinn & Leland Culp estate allowed an agricultural hall to be built in 2003. And in 2011 the Davis Family donated the old Davis Store building to the complex.
The grounds have recently been improved with assistance from the City of Warrensburg, the Master Gardeners of Johnson County, and the Delta Chi Fraternity, and many other friends of the Society. The JCHS is the site of many community oriented events. The Old Town Square hosts the Old Drum Day Festival in April and the Eclectic Café Concert Series in the Old Courthouse weekends in October.
Regular Hours: 1-4 Monday – Saturday, and by appointment
302 North Main Street