Washington Historical Timeline

1794 William Hughes settles on Du Bois Creek

1799 Daniel Boone settles in Femme Osage, St. Charles County

1803 Kincaid Caldwell settles on St. John's Creek

1804 Lewis and Clark camp on north side of river at La Charrette

1814 Isaac Murphy establishes first ferry service between La Charrette and St. Johns Creek settlement

1816 Post Office is established at St. Johns Creek settlement

1818 William Owens and wife Lucinda move to Washington area from Kentucky

1818 Organization of Franklin County is authorized January 1, 1819

1819 First steamboat, the Independence, passes Washington

1820 Post office is established at Newport; William G. Owens, postmaster

1821 Missouri admitted to the union as a state

1821 Preston G. Rule opens first Franklin County store at Newport

1822 John Caldwell is licensed to operate a ferry boat at Washington Landing

1827 William Owens acquires 78 acres of land adjacent to mouth of St. John’s Creek

1829 William Owens surveys a town: attempts to sell lots on the 78 acres unsuccessful

1831 William Owens buys land further down river from first attempt and surveys out a town

1832 First homes built by Charles Eberius and Bernard Fricke

1832 First store and tavern opens in Washington

1833 Twelve German families who would found St. Francis Borgia Church arrive.

1834 Phineas Thomas builds first brick home in Washington

1834 William Owens is shot in back and killed while riding mule from Washington to Union

1834 Bleckman blacksmith shop is established west of Washington

1836 Bassora is founded

1837 First post office is established in Washington on April 13 in log house on north side of Main Street between Jefferson and Lafayette streets, Robert Caldwell postmaster

1837 Post office moved to Bassora in November

1839 Lucinda Owens buys 50 acres at auction from husband’s estate and formally files plat of the City of Washington on May 29, 1839

1840 Post office returned to Washington in April

1841 South Point is platted by Judge David Sterigere and James K. Rule

1841 Washington incorporated, first election held, Andrew Cochran elected chairman of Board of Trustees, Joseph R. Hardin is named the first constable

1844 Flood on the Missouri River causes severe devastation

1844 First German Protestant church is organized in Washington

1848 Failure of democratic revolution in Germany provides impetus for increased German immigration

1850 Henry Heining begins making bricks for the city hall building

1851 First City Hall building is completed

1852 Volunteer Fire Department purchases first equipment.

1854 Otto Brix and August Leonard form the “Player’s Club” for those interested in opera and theatre

1854 Washington Brewery opens; founders are John and Henry Busch and Fred Gersie (Later known as John B. Busch Brewery)

1855 Railroad tracks are completed from St. Louis to Washington

1856 First city newspaper prints first issue

1858 Otto Brix opens first clay pottery factory .

1859 Franz Wilhelmi organizes the Turn Verein or Turner Society

1861 Civil War begins

1864 Troops of Confederate General Sterling Price raid Washington and loot the town

1866 Franz Schwarzer builds his first zither.

1866 Washington Savings Bank is founded as the first financial institution of the community

1867 Droege’s grocery store opens for business

1872 First lathe-turned corn cob pipes are made

1872 First grammar school is built

1873 Mayoral form of government is adopted by town

1873 First county fair is held featuring farm products and horse races

1877 Bank of Washington opens for business

1878 Missouri Pacific Railroad hospital, the first hospital in the city, is established

1886 Henry Tibbe builds a private water system for his neighborhood

1887 Private high school built at Third and Locust streets

1889 First city-wide water system begins pumping water from the Missouri River – owned by commercial company.

1892 Henry Tibbe begins offering electricity to the town

1893 First street lights in Washington

1894 Citizens vote to become a third-class city

1894 First football game is held with Washington defeating the Academic Pioneers of Labadie

1900 First public high is school established

1902 Sight of first automobile in Washington is reported

1903 Flood destroys remaining part of North Washington

1905 Washington Citizen begins publication. Editors are George Krumsick and Arthur Rusche

1907 Roberts, Johnson & Rand shoe factory is dedicated

1908 Moving pictures come to Washington in a building on the northwest corner of Main and Cedar streets.

1909 Calvin Theatre opens on Elm Street

1909 Washington Public Library opens on the second floor of the post office. About 700 books – 25-cent ticket allows reading of 10 books - $1 allows unlimited books for one year.

1915 City buys waterworks system

1916 President Theodore Roosevelt speaks from rear of train to citizens

1918 Washington Volunteer Fire Department obtains first motor powered fire truck

1918 Home delivery of mail begins

1922 US Government-built Post Office at Second and Lafayette streets opens - 13th location in Washington

1923 First street lamps are illuminated on Main and Elm streets, called the “white way”

1923 New City Hall is dedicated

1923 Washington Chamber of Commerce is organized

1924 New brick railroad depot is opened

1924 Steel water tower is completed to replace the standpipe system

1926 Washington Cemetery is converted to public park – named Krog Park in 1958

1927 St. Francis Hospital opens

1929 US Army Corp of Engineers begins project to improve the Missouri River channel

1929 First “talking movies” in Washington

1934 St. Francis Borgia High School is dedicated

1935 Highway 100 is completed from St. Louis to Washington

1936 Public swimming pool is opened

1936 Bridge over Missouri River opens as toll bridge

1938 Fifth Street Elementary School opens, built in front of old Washington Grammar School.

1938 First reception of television on homemade TV with three-inch screen

1938 Sporlan Valve relocated part of their manufacturing operations to Washington

1943 President Franklin Roosevelt spends night in Washington on special train

1947 First commercial television set in Washington

1947 Zero Manufacturing founded by George Duncan

1947 First “Stop Light” in Washington, located at Second and Elm streets

1948 Two-way radios installed in two police cars

1951 Missouri River bridge stops collecting tolls

1952 Dwight Eisenhower campaigns for president from back of train in Washington

1953 President Harry Truman speaks from back of train in Washington

1957 New public high school dedicated

1971 Passenger train service to Washington discontinued

1971 New Highway 100 opened

1971 Regional airport opened

1976 New St. Francis Hospital, now Mercy Hospital, opened

1980 New public library and police station opened

1982 New St. Francis Borgia Regional High School dedicated

1984 Enduro Binders, Inc. acquires Hazel Binders Division

1989 Marbach, Germany, named sister city

1989 Washington celebrates Sesquicentennial with year-long events

1995 Amtrak resumes passenger train service to Washington

1995 Washington Historical Society Museum opened in new facility at Fourth and Market streets

2000 Heidmann Industrial Park opened

2001 Railroad depot and visitor center restoration completed

2002 Riverfront hiking/biking trail completed

2002 Patients First Medical facility opened

2004 Renovation of the AME Church building completed by Washington Historical Society

2005 Senior Center opened

2005 Journalism Hall of Fame opened

2006 Public Safety Complex completed

2007 Farmers Market in Downtown opened

2009 Bank of Washington completes major expansion in downtown

2010 Completion of four-lane divided Highway 100 to I-44

2011 Renovation of old Post Office completed

2012 City library complex expanded

2012 Washington Historical Society assumes responsibility for Kohmueller House

2012 Mercy Hospital and Patients First merge

2014 Washington celebrates 175th anniversary in May

2016 Ground broke August 12 for new Missouri River bridge 

2018 Bridge dedicated December 1