The struggle of living in the historic Platte County village of Iatan

Rebecca Crockett
March 05, 2019 - 9:27 pm

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Iatan, MO - This small village just a few miles up Highway 45 from Weston, Missouri used to be a bustling port town alongside the Missouri River.

Iatan was a steamboat stop and a regular train stop, but flooding in 1881 moved the course of the river west, and businesses moved as well.

And if that wasn't enough, a spark from the same train that kept the town alive, burned it to the ground in 1923. 

"The town has several historical markers, including one of the oldest cemeteries in Platte County, with tombstones dating back to the 1830s," says Daniel Schultz, city chairman. 

The town hall has no running water and major damage to the roof, but that's not the biggest problem for the village.

A historic bridge that spans a creek in the center of the village was damaged by a flood in 1993 and has continued to deteriorate.

The bridge is also too narrow for emergency vehicles to access the five homes across the creek. Schultz says one house burnt down because fire trucks couldn't get to the home. He says in case of a medical emergency, paramedics have to walk to the home.

Another problem, the children that live on the other side of that bridge have to either cross the bridge or walk down the dangerous highway to reach their bus stop. 

The laundry list of repairs seems overwhelming, prompting the question, why stay?  

Schultz says it's the community that makes the difference, and in Iatan, he has that, and with the rich history in the area, he feel it's worth the effort to revive it. "Everyone can see that small town America is going away, and maybe I'm a little stubborn, but I'm not okay with that." Schultz says he remembers tv shows like Leave it to Beaver and feels they're an example of  what America should be. 

Crystal Weaver is a town trustee. She says she walked away from a dark past and an abusive relationship, and found a community where she can heal. "This village has given me the opportunity to restore it, and myself all together," said Weaver. 

The town has started a GoFundMe page to help revive it.

Schultz says the first step is to repair the bridge and to create a place where the villagers can gather together. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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