On July 4, 1860, William Roberts entered into an agreement to deed forty acres of his land to the Chariton & Randolph Railroad Company. Later, Elijah Williams also sold twenty-five acres to the railroad. Both men received fifteen dollars per acre. Mr. Williams’ home was built in 1859 and is located at 125 South Fifth, at the head of Burkhart. That makes it, most likely, the oldest house in Moberly that is still standing. The railroad company agreed to construct a line running west from the place where this land was intersected by the North Missouri Railroad and to lay out and plot a townsite at the junction of the two roads. This is the Coates Street crossing of today.
April 28, 1864, saw the sale of the Chariton and Randolph Railroad Company to the North Missouri Railroad Company.
The Civil War ended in April 1865, and the new owner of the railroad began making preparations to hold a lot sale. This sale was held on September 27th, 1866, and is considered the birthdate of Moberly.
Moberly was named for Col. W.E. Moberly, who was a resident of Brunswick. He was the first president of the Chariton and Randolph Railroad Company. On May 25, 1868, the Randolph County court organized and incorporated the town of Moberly.
In 1872, the trustees of our city gave the railroad company 200 acres of land lying between the west branch and the main line for the erection of the machine shops. They also donated 618 acres one and one-half miles west of the track and exempted the entire amount from city taxes for twenty years. The construction began almost immediately. The roundhouse was 300 feet in diameter and had stalls for sixty locomotives. The machine shops, where engines and cars were built and repaired was 120 x 216 feet in dimension. In the rear of this building was the brass foundry, 30 x 50 feet. A two-story building, 60 x 200 feet housed the general offices of the master mechanic and master car builder. There was also a paint shop, a car shop, and the planing mill. Beyond these were the carpenter shops where railroad bridges were fabricated. The buildings were all of brick, capped and finished with Grafton stone, and covered with slate. These shops employed 1200 laborers at this time.
Today, Moberly is home to around 13,000 people in the heart of Missouri, just 30 minutes North of Columbia. Moberly is most known for being the home to General Omar Bradley, to the founding store of Ace Hardware and Orscheln Industries. Higher education is prevalent in Moberly as there are two colleges, Moberly Area Community College and Central Christian College of the Bible. We hope that you will come #VisitMoberly and see what all we have to offer. If you have questions about visiting, moving or starting a business in Moberly? Call the Moberly Area Chamber of Commerce at 660-263-6070.