In St. Joseph, Missouri there are many wonderful old buildings, but only one National Historic Landmark. The Patee House Museum started life as a luxury hotel back in 1858. During the short life of the Pony Express (the Pony Express Museum is just down the road), part of the hotel served as the headquarters. Other memorable moments in the hotel’s history include the occupation by the Union Army during the Civil War. Since Mr. Patee had been supporting the Confederacy, the Union decided to sell the hotel, as spoils of war, in a nation-wide lottery. Patee bought 100 unsold tickets and won back the hotel.
The Patee House Museum occupies the bottom two floors of the hotel. On the first floor you will find an area designed like the streets of St. Joe in the mid-1800’s. There are a variety of store fronts where you can wander through the exhibits. These showcase some of the items that would have been sold and used in that era.
Visitors will have an opportunity to see what life was like in the mid-1800’s through the early 1900’s. Displays include commodities and services that residents would have purchased, as well as the fashions of those days.
The Patee House Museum has a wide variety of vehicles from many eras, including a train. A few automobiles sit together in one section, and in another area you will also see a selection of antique hearses.
A working saloon gives guests a chance to savor a cold sarsaparilla, while hearing the history of the building from the barkeep. Heading out of this room will deposit you into the large dining area, which could accommodate 400 diners.
The second floor of the Patee House Museum continues the local history, and also includes an overhead view of the train and depot station located on the first floor. Additional Civil War memorabilia will be found here, as well.
In the rear of the museum is a full size working carousel. An unusual array of creatures are assembled here, including a dinosaur, and hummingbird. For an additional fee guests can take a ride on the attraction.
Behind the museum visitors will find the house where Jesse James was shot by Bob Ford. There is an additional charge to visit this site, but it includes artifacts from the grave of Jesse James. Guests can also see the bullet hole from the assassination, just below the sampler that James was supposedly straightening. The Patee House Museum is chocked full of displays and information covering a wide range of topics. This step back in time will help you understand what life was like in the olden days.