“We serve Gantry, Andrew, and DeKalb counties, and we’re hopeful the communities we serve continue to support us as well. King City is a great place to be, and we’re proud of our museum.”
The state of Missouri is gorgeous. With stunning natural beauty, state parks and friendly people, it’s a great place to live. Outside of the natural beauty, the people that make up Missouri all have a story to tell, and they are proud of their communities – especially when they have a 25 feet tall gasoline pump! (We’ll get to that.)
In King City, Missouri, Danny Lewis has been the President of The Lewis Agency Insurance since 1990, helping people with home, auto, and farm insurance. Because he loves his community, Mr. Lewis is also the president of the Tri County Museum.
About that huge gas pump
Despite its regal name, King City has a population of just over 1,000 people. It’s population has bounced up and down a little over the decades, but generally is right around 1,000 people.
Back in 1937, there was an aspiring entrepreneur in King City who thought, “You know what we need here is a 25 foot gas pump,” and he built it as a roadside attraction that stands to this day.
If that gives you an idea for what the spirit of King City is like, you are correct. While it sits in rural Missouri, it’s only 30 miles from St. Joseph and around 90 miles to Kansas City. That gives King City a great location with access to big city amenities a drive away.
The Tri County Museum has been a mainstay of King City since the American Bicentennial Celebration in 1976.
An antiques dealer in town owned the defunct railroad depot and decided to donate it to the community for the museum. The city needed to move it to a more suitable location, and so they did- they moved the whole building to its present location at 604 N. Grand Street.
Mr. Lewis is the president of the museum and is assisted by a Board of Directors and volunteers who oversee the day to day operation of the museum grounds and facilities.
More of a Museum Campus than just a Museum
As Danny told me more about the museum, I found out there are a total of seven buildings on the campus. (One of them is the giant gas pump.) There are mockups of old stores, boarding houses, and because of the focus on agriculture in their community, they also have a farm.
As if that wasn’t enough, there is a beautiful chapel on site, and Danny told me there are weddings and other special events held there.
Recently, the museum hosted a Holiday Craft Show, and if you visit their facebook page, they share announcements of upcoming musical acts for the public, and more.
“We’re a community that is proud of our home,” Danny said to me. “King City was the first community in Missouri to get wind turbines, and people used to come out and see them as they were being installed.
“We are lucky here at the museum,” he added, “and we’re lucky to have support from Pattern Energy. We received a donation from Pattern Energy via the Chamber of Commerce, and we’re incredibly grateful.”
As Danny and I spoke of the future, he talked about his hopes for the museum, and for King City. “We serve Gantry, Andrew, and DeKalb counties, and we’re hopeful the communities we serve continue to support us as well. King City is a great place to be, and we’re proud of our museum.”