Saint Joseph, MO

The historical 1858 luxury hotel in St. Joseph, Missouri originally built by John Patee is the Patee House Museum

CJ Coombs

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Patee House Museum.Facebook.
The two things St. Joseph is known for, the start of the Pony Express and the end of Jesse James, were both directly associated with Patee House. (Source.)

In 1858, John Patee built a luxury hotel called The Patee House. It is located at 12th Street and Penn in St. Joseph, Missouri. This hotel was considered a well-known establishment on the west side of the Mississippi River. Today, it's known as the Patee House Museum.

The Patee House included office space for the Pony Express founded in 1860. The Pony Express was a much quicker way to get mail to the West Coast.

The Union Army Provost Marshal's office was also located in the Patee House during the Civil War when the Union Army took over the hotel. Trials were conducted by the Army on the second floor.

During the Civil War, the Union Army took over the hotel, and Patee, who was backing the Confederacy, decided to sell the building in a nation-wide lottery. When 100 tickets came back unsold on April 28, 1865, Patee bought them himself and won back his own hotel. (Source.)

At the conclusion of the war, the Patee Female College was part of the Patee House from 1865 through 1868. The St. Joseph Female College took over in the same space from 1875 to 1880. Educational facilities included private schools for young women across the country.

In 1882, after Jesse James was killed near his home (pictured below) and a block up from the hotel, his family stayed in the hotel while his death was being looked into. At that time, it was called the World Hotel. James' home was moved behind the Patee House Museum and is also a museum.

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Jesse James home.Wikimedia Commons.

Interestingly, Oscar Wilde was staying at the Patee Hotel there during his lecture, "The English Renaissance," on April 18, 1882, at Tootle's Opera House.

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Chicago, Burlington and Quincy 4-4-0 steam locomotive 35 on static dsplay at Patee House Museum.Gary Lee Todd, Ph.D., CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

As time passed, the hotel building was a shirt factory for R.L. McDonald. It began to operate as a history museum in 1963. The museum was focused on transportation history and still is today along with communication. Inside the building are an 1892 Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad steam locomotive (pictured above) and an 1877 railroad depo.

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Patee House Museum.Photo by Rcool1234, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
After Bob Ford killed Jesse James in St. Joseph in 1882, the outlaw’s family spent two nights at Patee House, then called World’s Hotel. The home in which Jesse was shot, originally two blocks away, was moved to the Patee House lot in 1977. (Source.)

In 1965, Patee House was designated as a National Historic Landmark for its use as the headquarters of the Pony Express.

Thank you for reading.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms. Thinker, giver, and lover of life and retired early to be a writer. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO
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