Today's travelers passing through Cooper County enjoy the comfort of their automobile. Yesterday's travelers walked through the prairie grasses.
Native Americans and French traders plodded through the old trails pre-dating the Sante Fe Trail or the Butterfield Stages. According to local legend, the name Pilot Grove comes from a group of trees thriving within the prairie grasses which were dominant in the landscape.
The early settler used this "grove" of trees to "pilot" their way through this area on their way west. First settled in the early 1800's the town was platted in 1873 and by May of that year Pilot Grove had become a railroad town and remained so until the 1970's. With the development of the Rail to Trails Program, the Katy Trail came into existence and brings visitors to the Pilot Grove Community.
Available for tours, the restored Crestmead Home has a central hall "staircase that spans three stories leading to the third floor observatory." The home has a slave house, ice house and buggy building.
Also in Pilot Grove is the historic 1880s Victorian Burwood Home. Included are eight fireplaces and a slave cabin.
The Cooper County Historical Society is located in town and preserves genealogy information for those who are seeking to find their ancestral roots.
Just down the road is the 1820s Pleasant Green Plantation House. The house is on the National Historic Register. There are nine rooms. Tour guides are in period dress; refreshments are optional for tours of twelve or more people.
The quiet and comfortable town is conveniently located just a few miles off of Interstate 70 at the Arrow Rock exit. Pilot Grove is surrounded by a variety of places that will catch the traveler's attention. Visitors may want to bring a picnic lunch along as there are three parks in the little town of Pilot Grove. There is a town restaurant and a Casey's Convenience Store. The town's Harvest Festival is held yearly on the third Saturday in October. The event includes family activities, food, craft booths, and entertainment. The yearly Rodeo is held in July. The Pilot Grove community continues to preserve its history and maintain their home-town atmosphere. More information about this German-influenced town can be found by visiting www.pilotgrovemo.org.