About the Museum
Welcome to the Mississippi County Historical Center and Museum. You are now taking a step back into history. On June 20, 1901, Mr. Fred O. Patterson purchased the lot that the 1902 Fred G. Patterson Store Building sits on, for the sum of $250.00. This area of town was referred to as 'New Town'. After two years of successftul business in 'New Town' Osceola, Mr. Patterson purchased the adjoining lot number four from W. H. and Lou Pullen, also for the sum of $250.00, paid in cash on April 18, 1904. He felt he needed a bigger buildingâ€”the 1904 building is one foot wider! He also placed fire walls between the 1902 and 1904 buildings, as he had suffered a total loss to his store in Old Town in 1900. This precaution saved the whole city block in 2003 when a fire consumed the Borum building which was on the east side of the Patterson Store Buildings.
ln 1904, Mr. Fred Patterson married Elizabeth Smith, daughter of a steamship captain. They had three children, Henry J., Lillian and Lonetta Patterson. Fred Patterson died April 17, 1964, exactly 60 years less one day from the date he bought the lot to build the 1904 building. At his death, without interruption, the operation of the store was continued by his son, Henry.
The store was historically famous for cotton pick sacks, shoes and hats for men, women and children as well as work clothes. Throughout the years, "Mr. Patterson's Store" was the only place to purchase certain items. Customers came from not only the Ouceola area, but all of Mississippi County, surrounding counties, and the Missouri Bootheel. The trademark of the store was shoes sitting oatside the store at the entranceâ€”to announce the store was open. Fred Patterson may have had five or six styles outside at once, but they were never stolenâ€”they were all for the same foot! Henry Patterson would have only a single shoe sitting out to indicate he was open for business. It is a practice continued by the Mississippi County Historical Museum today.
In 1904 he moved the Fred G. Patterson Store into his new building, and thereafter rented the 1902 building to other tenants. But the 1904 building was only used as the Patterson Dry Goods Store until 1987.
The store became the 'loafing place' for Henry's retired contemporaries with time on their hands. The chairs around the potbellied stove held both men and women who managed to solve the problems of the world while enjoying the atmosphere of the history all around them. In fact, it remains as much today as it did in 1904 as all of the fixtures, shelving, and stools remain untouched. These fixtures are a rich walnut. The exterior has a wooden canopy that covers the entrance and sidewalks to both buildings with benches in front of the building.
One reason this building is so special is that it is so genuine. It is a museum that 'houses a museum' of the history of Mississippi County. TheMississippi County Historical & Genealogical Society also owns the building next door to the west which is to be a research center, meeting room and a place for special events and displays. And it also has the coffee shoppe, which is decorated with 1950's memorabilia. It is also used for class reunions and other events, and also has the Historical Museum gift shop.
Miss Lonetta Patterson made a gift of the two buildings to the Mississippi County Historical & Genealogical Society on November 21, 1993 in memory of Henry J. Patterson. By her request, these buildings will always be used for a Historical Center, not just a museum. Permanent exhibits are on display for the enjoyment of the citizens of Mississippi County and the American public.
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