Welcome to Hillsboro
Hillsboro is the county seat of Jefferson County, Missouri's fifth largest county by population. The residents of Hillsboro and the adjacent area enjoy the comfort and serenity of a rural setting that is located a short drive from St. Louis, and its vast array of cultural opportunities, professional sports, fine dining, and abundant shopping. The 63050 zip code includes the town of Hillsboro (population of 1625), as well as dozens of nearby residential developments. Three upscale residential lake developments are within a few miles of our city limits. Hillsboro is a progressive community looking forward to future growth and change while while preserving its rich historical heritage.
History of Hillsboro
The Hillsboro area was first settled in the late 1770s. The area provided game, timber, and rich soil for farming. Water was abundantly provided by the Big Spring located at First and Walnut streets. It still flows today and public viewing is possible. The Big Spring and two other springs form the headwaters of Belews Creek, named for William Belews. This creek, and its fertile valley, caught the attention of the Huskey family who settled here in 1803. Huskey family descendants still live on (and farm) the original property to this day. The Huskey Farm is thus one of the oldest in Missouri.
Jefferson County was formed on December 8, 1818 with Herculaneum being designated as the first county seat. In 1832, it was proposed that the county seat be moved to a more centralized location. This undertaking took a number of years even though a site was agreed upon (a tract of land, which was to become Hillsboro, was donated by Samuel Merry and Hugh O'Neill). Following endless debate, a vote of the people, and an act of the Missouri General Assembly, Hillsboro became the county seat on February 8, 1839.
The name Monticello, in honor of Thomas Jefferson's home, was originally selected as the name for the new city, but another community in northeast Missouri had already taken this name. Therefore, Hillsboro, a liberal English translation of Monticello, became the name of our town.
In 1840, Hillsboro's first courthouse was built at Second and Oak Streets. Then in 1865, a new site was purchased and a new courthouse was erected. With remodeling and numerous additions, this courthouse has continued in constant use at this same site to the present day.
In 1873, Hillsboro was incorporated and a Board of Trustees appointed. Because travel to and from Hillsboro was difficult, many of the early homes were built by persons elected to county office. It was for this same reason that Hillsboro has had as many as three hotels. The last of which closed in the 1930's. Early travelers came to Hillsboro on foot, on horseback, farm wagon, or buckboard. Public transportation made an early appearance, however, first by stage coach in the late 1830's, and then by rail service which came as close as Victoria in 1858. With the completion of Highway 21 in 1940, a bus line serviced this area for some twenty-five years.
The local one room school houses built by the early settlers were consolidated into the Hillsboro R-III School District in 1939. The original R-III school building built at Seventh Street and Highway 21, has been replaced by the new Hillsboro Learning Center, but the footprint of the site continues to be part of the expanding campus today.
Hillsboro was established as a trading center for the surrounding community and as a seat of county government. With a quest for the best in education and community progress, Hillsboro moves forward with pride in its past and a commitment to the future.