Counties with the oldest homes in Missouri

Written by:
September 12, 2021
JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

Counties with the oldest homes in Missouri

There's an undeniable charm that comes with pre-World War II American architecture, characterized by high ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors, and ornate details. In fact, 12.8% of all housing units in America were built in 1939 or before, showing the popularity of the preservation of these units. Owning a piece of history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize. However, with more and more modernized pre-war homes on the market, generally located just outside bustling downtown metros, investing in property that has withstood the test of time is an attractive prospect.

Stacker compiled a list of the counties in Missouri with the oldest homes using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by median year the structure was built, with ties broken by the most homes before 1939.

The country’s domestic architecture is perhaps best characterized by a rugged individualism as opposed to the hybridization of disparate architectural elements. As Maya Angelou once perceptively observed, "the ache for home lives in all of us," a phrase that has meant very different things to different people.

Modest or palatial, there is no shortage of noteworthy homes in the U.S. Log cabins constructed by industrious pioneers have dotted the landscape alongside traditional Native American dwellings ever since immigrant Swedes introduced them to the New World in 1638. The unprecedented personal fortunes amassed by the so-called "Robber Barons" at the close of the 19th century gave way to the construction of a staggering number of Gilded Age estates.

The ravages of time spared neither the sumptuous nor the humble. Stately mansions, often prohibitively costly to maintain in the modern era, were frequently neglected; simple structures were forgotten, discarded by their owners, and damaged by natural elements. However, the tireless efforts of architectural preservationists and local historical societies have saved many of these homes from demolition, leading to their inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and thereby safeguarding them for future generations.

Keep reading to learn more about which counties in Missouri have the oldest homes.

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David Wilson // Wikimedia Commons

#30. Pettis County

- Median year homes built: 1971
--- #913 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.2%
--- #856 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 18,279

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Davekeiser // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Gasconade County

- Median year homes built: 1971
--- #900 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.5%
--- #729 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,178

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Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#28. Gentry County

- Median year homes built: 1971
--- #893 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.8%
--- #649 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 3,190

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Caldwell County

- Median year homes built: 1971
--- #890 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.6%
--- #607 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 4,684

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Pemiscot County

- Median year homes built: 1970
--- #867 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.3%
--- #2,045 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 8,171

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Dunklin County

- Median year homes built: 1970
--- #862 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 9.0%
--- #1,805 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 14,428

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Charles W. Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Audrain County

- Median year homes built: 1970
--- #859 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 11.9%
--- #1,496 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 10,893

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Mercer County

- Median year homes built: 1970
--- #844 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 17.5%
--- #1,107 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,122

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Photos BrianScantlebury // Shutterstock

#22. Marion County

- Median year homes built: 1970
--- #832 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.9%
--- #756 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 13,036

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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Macon County

- Median year homes built: 1970
--- #825 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.9%
--- #697 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 7,671

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Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Harrison County

- Median year homes built: 1970
--- #810 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.3%
--- #523 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 4,385

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Jon Kraft // Shutterstock

#19. Jackson County

- Median year homes built: 1969
--- #776 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.7%
--- #1,016 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 323,157

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Chariton County

- Median year homes built: 1969
--- #775 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.9%
--- #1,004 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 4,143

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Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Saline County

- Median year homes built: 1969
--- #771 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.0%
--- #924 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 10,182

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#16. St. Louis County

- Median year homes built: 1968
--- #735 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 9.7%
--- #1,717 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 440,960

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Livingston County

- Median year homes built: 1968
--- #723 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 19.5%
--- #964 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 6,839

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Grundy County

- Median year homes built: 1968
--- #716 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.0%
--- #807 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 4,998

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Howard County

- Median year homes built: 1968
--- #708 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.3%
--- #679 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 4,591

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Shelby County

- Median year homes built: 1968
--- #703 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 26.3%
--- #565 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 3,206

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Sector001 // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Scotland County

- Median year homes built: 1967
--- #643 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.8%
--- #319 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,369

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Charvex // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Sullivan County

- Median year homes built: 1965
--- #557 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.2%
--- #433 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 3,337

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Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Holt County

- Median year homes built: 1965
--- #551 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.1%
--- #306 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,792

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Original by Patrick Hull, modifications by Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Worth County

- Median year homes built: 1964
--- #516 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.9%
--- #398 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 1,276

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Americasroof // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Carroll County

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #445 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.2%
--- #799 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 4,654

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Linn County

- Median year homes built: 1962
--- #439 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.6%
--- #661 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 6,394

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w:User:Malepheasant // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Buchanan County

- Median year homes built: 1961
--- #371 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.6%
--- #368 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 38,750

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Kbh3rd // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Schuyler County

- Median year homes built: 1961
--- #366 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 32.1%
--- #309 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,106

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Canva

#3. Knox County

- Median year homes built: 1960
--- #318 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.1%
--- #206 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,286

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JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Atchison County

- Median year homes built: 1959
--- #303 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.8%
--- #501 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 2,956

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Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

#1. St. Louis city

- Median year homes built: before 1939
--- #1 oldest among all counties nationwide
- Homes built 1939 or earlier: 57.7%
--- #1 most among all counties nationwide
- Number of homes: 176,729

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