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Welcome to Dallas County, Missouri! Located in the heart of the Ozarks of Missouri, the Dallas County R-I School District is proud to be able to serve the Dallas County community.  Approximately 1700 students attend 4 schools, including Mallory Elementary, Buffalo Prairie Middle School, Dallas County Technical Center, and Buffalo High School. These educational facilities strive to help your child each day by providing exceptional teaching and unparalleled care and attention.  Thank you for visiting our website.

History of Dallas County

Dallas County was originally organized as the county of Niangua on January 29, 1841. The word Niangua is from an old Indian phrase meaning "I won’t go away." Because this name was somewhat difficult to pronounce and spell, on December 10, 1844 the name was changed to Dallas County in honor of the current Vice-President of the United States, George M. Dallas, Vice-President to President James Knox Polk. On March 28, 1845 more accurately defined boundaries between adjoining counties were made as there was some concern about the western border of Polk and Dallas, but no changes were actually made. Then, on December 7, 1855 a change in the southern boundary of the county was made moving parts of Dallas County to Webster County. Apparently this was about a 7 or 8 mile strip of land. Prairie land abounds in Dallas County although it lies on the northern slope of the Ozark Mountain Range. Bounded on the north by Hickory and Camden Counties, on the south by Webster and Greene Counties, on the East by Laclede County, and on the west by Polk and Hickory Counties, Dallas County is one of the 24 counties that make up Southwest Missouri. The first settler in the area was Mark Reynolds in 1831 who moved his family from near Nashville, TN and settled on a claim on the Pomme-de-Terre River near what is now Pleasant Hope. About 1833, Mr. Reynolds moved his family further north to Buffalo Head Prairie. Mr. Reynolds found a stake on one of the Blue Mounds that had been left there earlier by some unknown traveler and he placed the nearby skull of a buffalo on the stake. Hence the name, Buffalo Head Prairie.  2000 Census report population as 15,661. Dallas County is situated between Stockton Lake, Lake of the Ozarks and Pomme de Terre Lake. All are within 45 minutes drive or less and offer excellent fishing, boat skiing and scuba diving opportunities. The historic and scenic Niangua River flows northeast through the county, winding its way past Bennett Spring State Park and Trout Hatchery which flows 100 million gallons a day. Each year thousands come here to enjoy float trips, canoeing and superb trout fishing in the fast moving spring water. Adjoining this wonderful spring are several hundred acres of land that have been purchased by the State of Missouri and developed into a Game Reserve. The woodlands around Buffalo and Dallas County offer excellent hunting for deer, turkey, raccoon, quail and other wild game. Active Buffalo residents enjoy fun and exercise on city league basketball and softball teams.

Old Dallas County Courthouse

Did You Know?

Did you know that famous Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) visited Buffalo and completed the painting "County Politics" based on the old courthouse that once sat where the current courthouse stands.  The painting was completed in 1965.  The original painting by Benton was sold recently by a New York auction house.  While the actual price of the sale was never disclosed, experts claim the final sales price was "in the millions".  Even original black and white prints of the painting sell for in excess of $5,000 if they are signed by Benton.  Benton's artwork hangs in some of the most respected art museums in the world including the Smithsonian in Washington, DC and the White House.  He also painted a number of large murals that are in the Missouri State Capitol, Governor's Mansion and The Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

Thomas Hart Benton painting of a courthouse

City of Buffalo, named for the prairie on which it is situated, is the county seat for Dallas County. The land originally was owned by Martin Randleman and William E. Williams. It was surveyed about 1841, although the first buildings were erected about 1838 by Mr. Williams and Joseph F. Miles. Other early inhabitants were brothers Samuel and Caswell Williams, William L. and I.N. Morrow, Alf Moore, Mr. Florence, William M. Lovan and sons Marshall G. and James R. Buffalo now has a population of 2,781 residents as of the 2000 Census. Founded in 1839 as a pioneer village on the edge of the prairie and the Niangua River hills and woodlands, Buffalo today is a growing county seat in a rural county of nearly 15,661 people. Once an isolated wilderness which promised new beginnings for western pioneers, the Buffalo area today is far from isolated. Yet the promise remains for those who seek new beginnings in her woods and prairies, as well as for those she has comfortably cradled since birth. Established where the woodlands meet the prairie, Buffalo is the heart of a thriving rural and suburban economy. Folks here may find their livelihoods right at home in farming, construction, light industry or the many services demanded by a growing economy. Many others commute to Springfield, just over a half-hour drive to the south. Buffalo has also become a popular choice for retirement, a place where folks can enjoy an easygoing, unpretentious lifestyle. Just as the blend of woods and prairie offered early settlers the best of two worlds, Buffalo offers residents today the best of two modern worlds - a small town lifestyle where you can get to know your neighbors, with easy access to all the recreations and resources available in Springfield, a city of a quarter million people and the third largest city in Missouri. Nestled in the heart of the Ozarks, Buffalo is served by State Highways 32 and 73 and US 65, which is the major center state connection between I-70 and I-44. Buffalo is just 29 miles north of Springfield, 70 miles north of Branson--Music City USA, 165 miles southeast of Kansas City, and 190 miles southwest of St Louis. 

Buffalo Square at Main and Maple Street in the 1040's