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Fulton Has Been Named one of America's Coolest Small Towns and Has a Charming Downtown with Brick Streets, Two Small Colleges and Reasonable Prices
Named after Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat, inviting Fulton sits in rolling east central Missouri, about half way between Kansas City and St. Louis. It started out in 1888 and has been named by Budget Travel as one of the "10 Coolest Small Towns in America."
The charming downtown Brick District has red brick streets and nearly 60 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including structures that house cafes, bookstores, shops, galleries and eateries. Sault's drugstore dates from 1937 has an authentic soda fountain. Two schools, Westminster College (760 students) and William Woods University (2,200 students), give Fulton a slight academic vibe. Westminster College's beautiful National Churchill Museum commemorates the life and times of Sir Winston Churchill (he came to visit Fulton in 1946). Other local highlights include the Kemper Center for the Arts, the Backer Auto World Museum, the Historical Society Museum and the Missouri Firefighters Memorial. Serenity Valley Winery has a lakeside setting and daily tastings.
Neighborhoods are mostly rural and leafy with ranch ramblers, bungalows, Craftsmans and others.
Population: 13,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 30%
Cost of Living: 36% below the national average
Median Home Price: $195,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 30, 40s and 50s. On average, the area receives 48 inches of rain and 18 inches of snow per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No. The nearest accredited hospital is Boone Health, 19 miles away in Columbia.
Public Transit: The county provides a dial-a-ride van service for a nominal fee.
Crime Rate: Slightly above the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
Is Missouri Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Somewhat
Cons: The tornado risk is 150% higher than the national average. The poverty rate is slightly higher than the national average, but this is due to the relatively large student population.
Notes: Fulton is home to the Missouri School for the Deaf, the Fulton State Hospital and a minimum security state prison, all of which contribute to the town's econmic footing. The population has remained steady during the last decade. Home prices have increased 9% since last year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, if looking for a nice little town with affordable housing.
Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto first visited this area in 1541, and France claimed the region after fur trader Rene-Robert De La Salle arrived in 1682. St. Louis was first inhabited in 1764, and Missouri became part of the U.S. through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. In 1820, Missouri became a state.
Both before and during the Civil War, Missourians were on the fence about slavery and supported both the Union and the Confederacy. The state itself remained in the Union.
Missouri played an important role during the early years of the nation. St. Joseph on the eastern edge of the state was the starting point of the famous Pony Express. The Oregon and Santa Fe Trails began in Independence.
Today, Missouri makes a lot of transportation equipment, such as autos and their parts, as well as beverages and beer, aerospace and defense technology parts. Food processing is also big here. Lead mining produces 90% of the country's non-recycled lead, and Missouri leads most states in the production of turkeys, cattle and grain.
Thousands of tourists visit Missouri hot spots every year. Branson is a well known entertainment destination with live performances, shopping, museums, riverboat tours and much more. Other state attractions include Bass Pro Shops Headquarters, Mark Twain's boyhood home, the Ozark National Scenic Railways, the Jesse James Museum and more. The lake regions in central Missouri draw fishermen, water devotees and sun worshippers.
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