Potosi, Washington County MO


The unusual name of "Potosi" comes from a South American Indian word meaning "place of much noise", and through the years the historic town has been the home of hardy pioneers who made "much noise" in Missouri and throughout the American West.
The original Potosi was a 16th Century Spanish silver find in Bolivia - a fabulous mountain of silver ore named by the Indians from the noises of the volcanic activity in the area. Through the centuries, into Mexico and into North America, the name "Potosi" became generic in meaning a "bonanza" of "El Dorado", and, wherever found, is always associated with mining activities - and hopes of riches.
Moses Austin, in 1813, laid out his town of Potosi as the county seat for the new County of Washington. In 1826 it and the French mining camp of Mine Au Breton, just south across the creek, were incorporated under the single name "Potosi".
Potosi was considered in the Missouri Territorial Legislature as the site of Missouri's temporary capital - losing by only one vote to St. Charles - and in the years that passed continued as a colorful center of an area that produced Missouri's first Black Architect; a psychic who wrote novels on a Ouija board; and the first man to deliver beer in an airplane.
In its more than two centuries, since the French first set their mining stakes in the beautiful creek valley, the town has continued as one of Missouri's more memorable ones, and a place which, through its continued beauty and historic significance has continued to make "much noise".


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This page was installed on 30 Jul 97 and last updated 30 Jul 97

Larry Flesher, Washington County, MO  lflesher@fidnet.com