In 1835 a committee was appointed to select a spot for the county seat of Stoddard County. The spot chosen was on fifty acres donated by Absalom Bailey, after holding court in a local home, a small brick courthouse was constructed along with a log jail. In 1856, money was set aside to build a new courthouse. Bloomfield was incorporated in 1835 and quickly became one of the most important communities west of the Mississippi River (The Bloomfield Vindicator October 26, 1977).
The first courthouse in Stoddard County was built in 1835, it was a small brick house located on the present site of the courthouse. A log jail house was erected nearby. In 1856, $10,000 was set aside for a new courthouse to built under the supervision of Solomon G. Kitchen and built by Daniel Kitchen. This courthouse was burned in the fall of 1864. It is unclear who burned the courthouse. Union authorities said the courthouse was burned by Confederate General Sterling Price's men when they entered the town in September 1864. Members of the 8th Missouri Confederate Cavalry entered Bloomfield to chase Union general, John McNeil out of the town. Three companies of the 8th Missouri were from Stoddard County, many of those men lived in and around Bloomfield. It seems plausible that those men would not burn down the courthouse located in a town many of them were from. Confederate sources blame McNeil for torching the courthouse on his evacuation of the town. No known photographs of the original courthouse made of brick or the later one built in 1856, are known to exist. According to Goodspeed's History of Southeast Missouri, the records housed in the courthouse were saved by Maj. H. H. Bedford, a former Missouri State Guard officer from Bloomfield (Goodspeed 358).
The courthouse square in Bloomfield was designed after "Lancaster Square," a layout style modeled after that of Lancaster, Pennsylvania where four roads joined a common square around the courthouse with one road on each side of the square (The Bloomfield Vindicator, October 26, 1977).
N. Prairie St.
Just after the turn of the century, Bloomfield began to host Chautauqua where Missouri and Viola streets intersected. Bloomfield was the hose to many special programs such as a stock show, parades, and even the occasional speaker such as William Jennings Bryan who visited Bloomfield to promote his populist ideas (Bloomfield Vindicator, October 26, 1977).
Looking north on North Prairie St.
Bloomfield Fire, 1912
A building was erected in 1921 on the county farm to be used to, "shelter and care for the poor and unfortunate." The building was a two story main center building with one story wings.
Poor Farm Resident. Circa 1920s
"The kicker regretted to learn last month of the mental derrangement of Rufus J. Cate, a good Stoddard county farmer, of Pike township, who was taken to the Farmington asylum. Mr. Cate was an active Socialist of much influence, but "the system" is no respecter of person, and is keeping the asylums, prisons, and poor houses crowded."
-From the Scott County Kicker, January 8, 1916
Stoddard County Poor Farm, 1924 to 1928
Shawnee and Spring St.
President Truman in Bloomfield
Looking east from the school, January 1903
Parsonage of the Bloomfield Methodist Episcopal Church
The first school in Bloomfield was located in the Methodist Church until 1853 when Solomon G. Kitchin, Orson Bartlett, Henry Miller, D.B. Miller, and Michael Wilson formed the Bloomfield Educational Society. Education halted during most of the war but started back up as a private school until 1871 when the public school system was established. In 1886 a frame house was constructed for $3,000.