Dalton, Missouri

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Dalton is a village in Chariton County, Missouri, United States. The population was 27 at the 2000 census, at which time it was a town.



Dalton is located at 39°23′50″N 92°59′28″W / 39.39722°N 92.99111°W / 39.39722; -92.99111 (39.397130, -92.991248)[3].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²), all of it land.

History of Dalton

Lewis and Clark made camp at what would later be known as the Cut-Off on June 12, 1804[4], and it was here that the expedition met with Pierre Dorion[5], a man who had reportedly been with the Sioux for 20 years and was thought to have some influence upon them. The Lewis and Clark journal entry describes the Dalton Cut-Off as connected to the Missouri River by a creek.[6]

More than sixty years after the Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through the area—after the end of the Civil War—the town of Dalton was born when the railroad created a need for it. The town was named for William Dalton who had donated the 40 acres (160,000 m2) and a railroad depot was built for the St. Louis & Pacific line.[7] [note: William Dalton was believed to be the grandfather of Missouri's sitting governor at the time the town was named, but the contributor has not yet found sources to support that claim.]

Dalton is perhaps best known as the site of the Dalton Vocational School, originally the Barlett Agricultural and Industrial School, also referred to as the "Tuskegee of the Midwest" or "Missouri Tuskegee"[8]. It was founded in 1907 by Nathaniel Bruce, a student and disciple of Booker T. Washington. The first permanent building was erected in 1909 after flooding forced a move to higher ground. In 1923, the school received funds from the state legislature to construct a model farm home, trade shop, and hog and poultry houses. Eventually the campus would expand to 123 acres (0.50 km2). Bruce shared Washington's view that a practical education for African American youth was best. The emphasis was on vocational and agricultural training. African American students from a relatively wide geographical area were bussed to Dalton where they studied agriculture, industrial arts, and home economics.[9]

The demonstration farm and school came under the supervision of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture in 1924. Eventually Lincoln University, a then all-Negro college in Jefferson City, took control of the school. The Supreme Court's 1954 ruling that schools were to be integrated forced the closing of Dalton Vocational School; the last school year was 1955–1956. Buildings and property were later sold at auction. The campus has sat empty since that time and all but two of the buildings are gone.[10]

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