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history can sometimes come with a cost: Many old homes come with asbestos, lead piping, knob-and-tube wiring, and other outdated building styles that can rack up a hefty price tag to modernize.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 according to 2020 5-year estimates. Ties broken by the highest percentage of homes built 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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#50. Reynolds County

– Median year homes built: 1975
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.0% (324 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 12.9% (520 homes)
– Total homes built: 4,031

#49. Scott County

– Median year homes built: 1975
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 11.0% (1,896 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 13.2% (2,286 homes)
– Total homes built: 17,297

#48. Iron County

– Median year homes built: 1975
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 14.4% (767 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 11.1% (592 homes)
– Total homes built: 5,314

#47. Lafayette County

– Median year homes built: 1975
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 15.6% (2,311 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 13.7% (2,028 homes)
– Total homes built: 14,851

#46. Putnam County

– Median year homes built: 1975
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.1% (541 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 20.7% (619 homes)
– Total homes built: 2,986

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#45. Lewis County

– Median year homes built: 1975
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.8% (854 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 17.9% (815 homes)
– Total homes built: 4,544

#44. St. Clair County

– Median year homes built: 1975
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.2% (1,140 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 15.5% (873 homes)
– Total homes built: 5,649

#43. Daviess County

– Median year homes built: 1975
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.6% (906 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 19.9% (834 homes)
– Total homes built: 4,189

#42. Stoddard County

– Median year homes built: 1974
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.5% (1,033 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 14.1% (1,935 homes)
– Total homes built: 13,730

#41. Cooper County

– Median year homes built: 1974
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.0% (1,500 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 15.8% (1,184 homes)
– Total homes built: 7,494

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#40. Vernon County

– Median year homes built: 1974
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.3% (2,046 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 14.8% (1,423 homes)
– Total homes built: 9,593

#39. Nodaway County

– Median year homes built: 1974
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.5% (2,104 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 18.9% (1,850 homes)
– Total homes built: 9,780

#38. Bates County

– Median year homes built: 1974
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.0% (1,803 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 16.8% (1,316 homes)
– Total homes built: 7,835

#37. Mississippi County

– Median year homes built: 1973
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 9.3% (535 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 12.1% (694 homes)
– Total homes built: 5,734

#36. Ray County

– Median year homes built: 1973
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 12.5% (1,266 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 12.0% (1,212 homes)
– Total homes built: 10,106

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#35. Barton County

– Median year homes built: 1973
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.7% (1,047 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 14.3% (799 homes)
– Total homes built: 5,601

#34. Pike County

– Median year homes built: 1973
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.0% (1,590 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 17.2% (1,368 homes)
– Total homes built: 7,932

#33. Adair County

– Median year homes built: 1973
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.3% (2,355 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 15.2% (1,757 homes)
– Total homes built: 11,595

#32. Gasconade County

– Median year homes built: 1973
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.2% (1,735 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 15.1% (1,230 homes)
– Total homes built: 8,168

#31. Pettis County

– Median year homes built: 1972
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.0% (3,279 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 13.2% (2,412 homes)
– Total homes built: 18,245

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#30. Randolph County

– Median year homes built: 1972
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.4% (2,745 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 16.3% (1,758 homes)
– Total homes built: 10,800

#29. Pemiscot County

– Median year homes built: 1971
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 7.7% (629 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 8.8% (716 homes)
– Total homes built: 8,162

#28. Mercer County

– Median year homes built: 1971
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 14.5% (309 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 15.2% (322 homes)
– Total homes built: 2,124

#27. Saline County

– Median year homes built: 1971
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 15.3% (1,561 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 9.3% (950 homes)
– Total homes built: 10,202

#26. Marion County

– Median year homes built: 1971
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.5% (2,810 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 11.2% (1,469 homes)
– Total homes built: 13,069

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#25. Gentry County

– Median year homes built: 1971
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.8% (699 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 16.7% (537 homes)
– Total homes built: 3,210

#24. Dunklin County

– Median year homes built: 1970
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 8.5% (1,235 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 8.0% (1,162 homes)
– Total homes built: 14,448

#23. Audrain County

– Median year homes built: 1970
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 13.6% (1,489 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 10.1% (1,100 homes)
– Total homes built: 10,909

#22. Shelby County

– Median year homes built: 1970
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.5% (785 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 16.8% (538 homes)
– Total homes built: 3,207

#21. Macon County

– Median year homes built: 1970
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.5% (1,889 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 13.2% (1,016 homes)
– Total homes built: 7,698

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#20. Clark County

– Median year homes built: 1970
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 27.6% (966 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 11.9% (418 homes)
– Total homes built: 3,503

#19. Harrison County

– Median year homes built: 1970
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.7% (1,255 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 17.0% (743 homes)
– Total homes built: 4,380

#18. Jackson County

– Median year homes built: 1969
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 18.6% (60,709 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 12.4% (40,503 homes)
– Total homes built: 325,759

#17. Caldwell County

– Median year homes built: 1969
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 24.9% (1,168 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 12.7% (597 homes)
– Total homes built: 4,694

#16. Scotland County

– Median year homes built: 1969
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.9% (733 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 17.9% (425 homes)
– Total homes built: 2,372

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#15. St. Louis County

– Median year homes built: 1968
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 9.7% (42,818 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 8.2% (36,186 homes)
– Total homes built: 441,593

#14. Livingston County

– Median year homes built: 1968
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 15.8% (1,083 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 12.5% (853 homes)
– Total homes built: 6,841

#13. Chariton County

– Median year homes built: 1968
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 20.0% (830 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 9.3% (386 homes)
– Total homes built: 4,148

#12. Grundy County

– Median year homes built: 1967
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 22.0% (1,103 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 11.6% (583 homes)
– Total homes built: 5,005

#11. Howard County

– Median year homes built: 1967
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.8% (1,093 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 14.9% (685 homes)
– Total homes built: 4,594

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#10. Holt County

– Median year homes built: 1967
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.4% (820 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 12.3% (344 homes)
– Total homes built: 2,793

#9. Sullivan County

– Median year homes built: 1965
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 25.3% (844 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 10.8% (361 homes)
– Total homes built: 3,339

#8. Carroll County

– Median year homes built: 1963
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 21.4% (996 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 12.6% (584 homes)
– Total homes built: 4,649

#7. Linn County

– Median year homes built: 1963
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 23.4% (1,493 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 10.8% (690 homes)
– Total homes built: 6,382

#6. Schuyler County

– Median year homes built: 1963
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 29.4% (618 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 9.3% (196 homes)
– Total homes built: 2,100

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#5. Worth County

– Median year homes built: 1962
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 31.5% (400 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 9.6% (122 homes)
– Total homes built: 1,270

#4. Buchanan County

– Median year homes built: 1961
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 28.5% (11,077 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 10.1% (3,929 homes)
– Total homes built: 38,822

#3. Knox County

– Median year homes built: 1959
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 35.6% (811 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 5.8% (133 homes)
– Total homes built: 2,275

#2. Atchison County

– Median year homes built: 1958
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 30.4% (896 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 4.6% (136 homes)
– Total homes built: 2,947

#1. St. Louis

– Median year homes built: before 1939
– Homes built 1939 or earlier: 58.2% (102,944 homes)
– Homes built since 2000: 6.1% (10,836 homes)
– Total homes built: 176,955

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