Buchanan County, Missouri
National Healthy Worksite Program
Community Director: Brian Cross
St. Joseph, Missouri, invites you to take a step back in time—without missing out on any 21st Century comforts. Famous as the place where the Pony Express began in 1860 and the notorious Jesse James met his end in 1882, St. Joseph is a vibrant suburban city offering upscale shopping, fine dining, and a wealth of exciting things to see and do.
St. Joseph, Missouri, is located in the heartland of the United States, at the crossroads of Interstate 29 and Missouri Highway 36. Only 25 minutes north of Kansas City International Airport, 30 minutes from North Kansas City, and 55 miles from downtown Kansas City.
The slogan, “Where the Pony Express started and Jesse James ended” is a tidy description of St. Joseph’s past, but the city has a rich history far beyond these two events.
Long before the Pony Express or Jesse James made their mark on the area, two men explored the region as part of their mapping of the Louisiana Purchase. On July 6, 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark camped on the banks of the Missouri River near what is now downtown St. Joseph, before continuing on their expedition across America.
Twenty-two years later, in 1826, a fur trader named Joseph Robidoux opened the Blacksnake Hills Trading Post in the area controlled by the Iowa, Sac and Fox tribes. In 1837, nearly 16 years after Missouri became a state, the tribes agreed to sell 2 million acres to the federal government. Robidoux’s trading post was assigned a post office 3 years later.
During the time of the Gold Rush, more people were leaving from St. Joseph to head west than from any other location. In 1849 alone, 50,000 folks heard the call of fortune and headed west. Over the next few years, 150,000 came through the city to follow their dreams.
The Pony Express was established in 1860 in an effort to obtain a government contract for mail service and it became the nation’s first transcontinental mail service. Pony Riders carried mail pouches across the plains and mountains, relaying them to their destination in Sacramento, California—a trip of 2,000 miles that took an average of 10 days.
Despite all its history, St. Joseph is a modern city, featuring unique shopping, restaurants, sports facilities, and more than a thousand affordable hotel rooms. Here you can enjoy the warmth of a contemporary city while enjoying the sights and sounds of history that are still alive today.
Buchanan County Participating Employers
Total number of employers in Buchanan County: 12
Total number of employees in Buchanan County: 1,234
- YMCA of St. Joseph, small, services
- Rolling Hills Consolidated Library, small, services
- Meierhoffer Funeral Home & Crematory, small, services
- YWCA of St. Joseph, small, services
- Midland Empire Resources for Independent Living, small, services
- United Cerebral Palsy of NWMO , small, services
- Nor-Am Ice and Cold Storage, small, manufacturing
- TD Supermarket Inc. - Apple Market, small, retail
- Progressive Community Services, mid-size, services
- LifeLine Foods, LLC, mid-size, manufacturing
- Hillyard Companies, mid-size, manufacturing
- Missouri Western State University, large, services
Buchanan County Health Statistics
Buchanan County, Missouri, including the city of St. Joseph, is a mixed urban and rural community with 2,303 employers and an employee population of approximately 35,000.
Buchanan County ranks 92nd out of Missouri’s 114 counties in health factors, according to the County Health Rankings. Health factors in the County Health Rankings are those that influence the health of a county, including health behavior and clinical care, as well as social, economic, and physical environment factors.
Buchanan County has begun a community initiative to address lifestyle-related risks for chronic disease, including a community roundtable. Heartland Health Regional Medical Center also provides wellness services locally and regionally. Buchanan County’s tobacco-use rate, obesity rate, and the number of individuals who are physically inactive are considerably higher than state and national averages.