Sikeston

Sikeston

[sahyk-stuhn]
Sikeston, city (1990 pop. 17,641), New Madrid and Scott counties, SE Mo., in the Mississippi plain; inc. 1874. It is the shipping, marketing, and processing center of a cotton, wheat, and soybean region. Manufactures include rope, vending machines, processed foods, apparel, and steel.
Sikeston (sīks'tən) is a city in New Madrid and Scott counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. It was founded by John Sikes (1816-1867) in 1860. The Sikeston Micropolitan Statistical Area consists of Scott County with a population of 41,143.

As of the 2000 census, the city population was 16,992, making it the second most populous city in Missouri's 8th Congressional district (map) behind Cape Girardeau (population 35,349). Other cities in Missouri's 8th Congressional district with a population exceeding 10,000 include Poplar Bluff (population 16,651), Rolla (population 16,367), Farmington (population 13,924), Jackson (population 11,947), Kennett (population 11,260), and West Plains (population 10,866).

By way of Interstate 55 Sikeston is close to the halfway point between St. Louis and Memphis. In 2002, voters approved a Charter home-rule system of government which allows the city to write its own laws instead of relying solely on Missouri statutes. The weather patterns are hot and very humid in the summer with temperatures dropping to the 20s and 30s (Fahrenheit) during winter.

The city of Miner borders Sikeston to the east. As of 2005, the Sikeston-Miner area had a combined population of approximately 20,000 people. According to the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce magazine Images of Sikeston, Sikeston's population is estimated at 18,057 as of 2005.

Geography

Sikeston is located at (36.879570, -89.585172).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.1 square miles (46.9 km²), of which, 17.9 square miles (46.4 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (0.94%) is water. The city is situated upon the Sikeston Ridge which runs north and south from 10 miles north of Sikeston through New Madrid Missouri. This ridge is made up of a fertile sandy-loam soil which supports much of the regions cotton production.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 16,992 people, 6,779 households, and 4,602 families residing in the city. The population density was 947.4 people per square mile (365.9/km²). There were 7,428 housing units at an average density of 414.2/sq mi (160.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.52% White, 22.36% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.37% Asian, 0.49% from other races, and 0.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.20% of the population.

There were 6,779 households out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 17.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.1% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.6% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 85.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,589, and the median income for a family was $36,420. Males had a median income of $31,846 versus $19,623 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,509. About 16.2% of families and 21.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.3% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.

Attractions

  • Lambert's Cafe - The original "Home of Throwed Rolls"
  • Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo
  • The Sikeston Depot, a train depot built in 1916 and on the National Register of Historic Places, is now used as a cultural center and museum.
  • Bootheel Golf Club () and Sikeston Country Club and Golf Course()
  • SEMO Raceway () and Sikeston Race Park()
  • The remodeled YMCA building was originally built in 1925. It was previously used as a gymnasium for the middle school and as a gymnasium for the high school before that. Sikeston's YMCA has recently broken ground on an $8 Million renovation campaign, which includes an indoor pool.
  • Sikeston Bulls - A minor league baseball team and part of the collegiate wood bat KIT League, which consists of teams from Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Illinois. Although inactive in 2008, the Bulls play their home games in the VFW Memorial Stadium in Sikeston.

Historical Trivia

  • The Hunter Memorial Cemetery, located on the grounds of the local Presbyterian Church, was established around 1812 after the New Madrid earthquake by Joseph Hunter II who served under George Rogers Clark during the Revolutionary War and on the Territorial Council for President Madison.
  • It is believed that the first house in Sikeston was located at 318 Baker Lane. The "Baker House" was probably built in 1855, about 5 years before the town was founded. One of the early inhabitants of this house was Lee Hunter for whom one of the elementary schools is named. In fact, the house once had a large barn that was located where Lee Hunter school is now situated. The Baker family moved into the house in 1888 and purchased it from the Hunter family in the early 1950s.
  • One of the first rail lines west of the Mississippi River ran to Sikeston, and it was the terminus of the Cairo and Fulton Railroad until 1872.
  • In the early 1900s, the city had more millionaires per capita than any other U.S. city of a similar population and the largest milling company in the Midwest, selling products to 23 states and seven foreign countries.
  • In 1916, landowner Leonard McMullin built a home of Colonial Revival architecture at 214 North Scott Street. Billed as the "Flying Farmer," he was the first commercial pilot in the state of Missouri, flying numerous exhibitions at state fairs.
  • In 1931, J. Otto Hahs invented and patented the coin-operated horse in Sikeston
  • In January 1937, a devastating flood and flu outbreak occurred in Sikeston
  • In 1942, the last lynching in Missouri took place in Sikeston. Information of this event is contained within the book "The Lynching of Cleo Wright" by Dominic J. Capeci, Jr. When prosecutors the case before a federal grand jury. It marked the first time the federal government had gotten involved in a civil rights case.
  • On May 17, 1946, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr., father of former United States president Bill Clinton, died outside Sikeston on U.S. Route 60 after being thrown from his car and drowning in a drainage ditch. This occurred three months before Bill Clinton's birth.
  • On January 21, 1955, a mostly unknown 20-year-old Elvis Presley performed at the Sikeston Armory
  • In the early 1960s, Sikeston was where the first successful tooth transplant was performed.
  • The 1962 film The Intruder, starring William Shatner and directed by Roger Corman, features scenes shot on location in Sikeston with several having been shot in the old Dunn Hotel, downtown
  • On April 1, 1965, Ronald Reagan was the guest speaker for the Sikeston Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet and was presented an “Honorary Cotton Picker of Southeast Missouri” plaque, perhaps as part of an April Fool's Day joke
  • In 1968 and 1972, former resident George Woods won Olympic silver medals in the shot put.
  • In the 1960s, Sikeston became the location for the first Wal-Mart store built outside Arkansas. Sam Walton was known for visiting the Sikeston store several times a month by flying his airplane into the Sikeston Municipal Airport.
  • In 1973, the first Drury Inn was built in Sikeston
  • Former Senator Lloyd Bentsen visited the rodeo grounds in attempt to gain support for a 1976 presidential run.
  • On May 15, 1986, a tornado hit the city of Sikeston and destroyed about 100 homes, prompting Governor Ashcroft to visit and call on the National Guard for assistance. On the same day, the nearby community of Vanduser was also hit by a tornado while storms precipitated flooding to the north in Cape Girardeau.

Military History

  • Sikeston's location during The Civil War held some importance due to its railroad and road location. Sikeston was used as a transportation connection as Union Brigadier General Pope sent his artillery across the river to Commerce to be sent by rail to Sikeston for cart transportation to New Madrid in preparation for the Battle of Island Number Ten. On February 28, 1862, Pope left Commerce with his army of 12,000, arriving in Sikeston on March 2, 1862. Colonel William Pitt Kellogg, commanding the 7th Illinois cavalry, was the first to encounter the rebel sabotage of recently burned bridges and other obstructions. The federals were attacked just south of Sikeston by a small group of rebels led by Confederate General M. Jeff Thompson the Swamp Fox, a nickname previously belonging to Revolutionary War Brigadier General Francis Marion. Thompson commanded a detachment of 85 horsemen and 4 to 6 experimental canons that had been manufactured in Memphis. Colonel James Morgan Illinois' troops were reinforced by Brigadier General Schuyler Hamilton's 2nd Division, hence Thompson quickly fled. Entering the area from Bird's Point, Brigadier General Eleazor Arthur Paine, commander of the 4th Division of Army of the Mississippi, repaired the railroad and telegraph lines and used troops from Illinois to form a garrison for Sikeston, Bertrand, and Charleston. War records state that on March 31, 1862, there were 6 Union officers and 143 Union soldiers present in Sikeston.
  • During World War I, an infantry company was organized in Sikeston on August 25, 1917 until the spring of 1919. Company K became part of the 140th Infantry, 70th Brigade, U.S. 35th Infantry Division and fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and served as part of the occupation force of Europe.
  • Between the two world wars, Company K was reorganized. It helped secure rail centers during the railroad workers' strike of 1922, helped out with the aftermath of the Poplar Bluff tornado of 1927, and worked on the Mississippi River levees during the floods of 1927 and 1937. In 1941, Company K was sent to Camp James T. Robinson, near Little Rock, where they drilled for eight months
  • During World War II until 1944, the Sikeston Municipal Airport which was previously dedicated on July 3-4, 1934 was known as Harvey Parks Airport and included long, barrack-style buildings as a site of the Missouri Institute of Aeronautics, which was established after General Hap Arnold asked flight training operations to triple their enrollments. The local National Guard unit Company K was assigned to the Western Defense Command in California. Also during World War II the local International Shoe factory started work on an army shoe order.
  • Sikeston is the home to Missouri National Guard unit Company C 1140th Engineer Battalion which took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom from February 2004 until February 2005. The current Adjutant General of the Missouri National Guard King Sidwell is from Sikeston and states that Company C may be restructured from an engineering unit to a military police detachment of the 1221st Transportation Company.
  • Veterans' Park near the airport includes a display of a M60 battle tank, an F-4 Phantom II jet fighter, and a 105 mm Howitzer cannon.
  • The recently-built George E. Day Parkway is named for Colonel George E. "Bud" Day, a F-100 Super Sabre pilot who is the only known American POW to escape into South Vietnam, although he was later recaptured and sent to the Hanoi Hilton. Earlier in 1955, while serving in England, Colonel Day was noted for surviving the first "no chute" bailout from a burning jet fighter. On March 6, 1976, President Gerald Ford presented him and James Stockdale with the Medal of Honor.
  • On April 26, 2006, the national commander of the American Legion Thomas L. Bock came to Sikeston to speak to American Legion Post 114.

Medicine

Missouri Delta Medical Center () was founded in Sikeston in 1948. The hospital typically employs over 600 healthcare providers and has close to 200 beds.

Education

Public Schools

  • The city of Sikeston has one public high school and school system In 1904, the Sikeston public school system held its first four-year high school graduation commencement.
  • The high school mascot is the bulldog, and the school colors are red and black.
  • The Red Pepper Organization which supports school athletics and promotes school spirit was started in 1928 and is one of the oldest high school organizations in the state and west of the Mississippi River. The Red Pepper Organization carries on 80-year traditions with a week of activities for "Greenies" (girls who are not yet full Red Peppers.) After several activities and requirements, the Greenies receive an official Red Pepper emblem.
  • The Field House, Sikeston High School's home gymnasium, was completed in 1969 as a multi-purpose athletic facility with a seating capacity exceeding 3,000 persons. After a bond issue was voted on and passed by the city, the building was updated and remodeled into a more attractive, state of the art sporting arena in 1992. With improved lighting, sound, and climate control, the Field House has become a popular venue for non-athletic events as well. The Field House distinguishes itself with its large silver dome that is easily recognizable from the air.

Other Local Schools

  • In 1892, a local high school known as "Methodist College" was established by the Sikeston Methodist Episcopal Church. This school was disbanded after the public high school was established.
  • In 1924, Sikeston built a school to be used by local black students until the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education.
  • Scott County Central High School, the next closest public high school, is located five miles (8 km) north of Sikeston on U.S. Route 61

Education and Athletics Achievements

  • In 1913, the Sikeston High School football team beat the Cape Normal college by a score of 15-0.
  • In 1985, the Sikeston High School Bulldogs played their 100th game versus the Charleston High School Blue Jays with Sikeston winning that game 20 to 19.
  • The Sikeston High School cheerleaders have competed at the state level multiple times. The squad has placed in the top three spots in the state the past twelve years they have competed. They took the first place plaque home in 1994, 1996, 2003, 2006, and 2007.
  • Sikeston Public Schools () - The Bulldogs Boys' Basketball team advanced to the state final four in the "Show-Me Showdown" tournament, eventually losing to St. Francis Borgia high school on March 11, 2006 by the score of 62-77

Private education

  • St Francis Xavier School ()
  • The Christian Academy ()
  • Sikeston Area Higher Education Center ()
  • Church on the Rock "Solid Rock Christian Academy" ()

Higher education and Technical Schools

  • Southeast Missouri State University - Sikeston, a satellite campus of Southeast Missouri State University, which is located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
  • Sikeston Career and Technology Center

Journalism

Newspapers: The Sikeston Standard Democrat () derives its name from Sikeston's two previous newspapers -- The Democrat Advertiser and The Daily Standard which was founded in 1911 and became a daily newspaper in 1950. In 1939, Standard editor Charles "Pole Cat" Blanton was featured in Time Magazine. Previous Sikeston newspapers include The Sikeston Star which was founded in 1884 and the Sikeston Herald which was founded in 1903. The high school newspaper is known as The Bulldog Barker while the high school yearbook is known as The Growler.

Music

Sikeston has long been associated with country music. Some previous performers at the local Jaycee rodeo have included Kenny Rogers in 1977 and Loretta Lynn in 1983 with Charlie Daniels and Lee Greenwood performing multiple times. Upon his visit, Kenny Rogers donated an Arabian stallion to be auctioned off to bring money to the local cerebral palsy center which in appreciation changed its name to the Kenny Rogers Children’s Center.

Transportation

  • In 1789, El Camino Real also known as "The King's Highway" was marked out by orders from the King of Spain. In 1915, the Missouri Daughters of the American Revolution erected a monument near Woodlawn Street in Sikeston to mark this event. In 1929, the Sikeston portion of the street was paved. Today this road is known as U.S. Route 61.
  • Sikeston is located at the intersection of I-55 and I-57, making it the only city in Missouri other than Kansas City and St. Louis to be located on at least two interstate highways. Other Sikeston highways include U.S. Route 60, U.S. Route 61, U.S. Route 62, and Route 114. Sikeston's location at the intersection of US Highways 60, 61, and 62 makes the city one of the few towns located at the intersection of 3 consecutively numbered highways.
  • The city is served by the Union Pacific Railroad and the BNSF Railway.

Economy

In March 2006, it was announced that Sikeston has been selected as the location for a new $205 million, 100-million-gallon-per-year, coal-fired ethanol plant. The plant will be built on a plot of land north of Atlas Cold Storage on the west side of the Burlington-Northern Railroad tracks. The plant is projected to use 35.6 million bushels (904,000 t) of corn per year and also produce about 320,000 short tons per year of distiller’s grains, a livestock feed product. The project will consist of two plants that will be located side-by-side: the ethanol production facility and a coal-fire boiler. The two projects should add about 55 to 65 new jobs.

Sister cities

Sikeston's sister cities are Yeosu, South Korea and Buffalo, New York.

People from Sikeston

External links

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