St. Joseph isn’t only celebrating its 175th year — it’s also celebrating what would be its founder’s 235 birthday this year.
Joseph Robidoux, a man of many reputations and a lasting legacy will be honored along with St. Joseph’s birthday on Saturday, Aug. 11, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Robidoux Row.
“That day the museum is completely free to come in and we’d love for people to come look around and experience that history of St. Joseph,” said Executive Director Daniel Johnson. “We’re actually working on getting a life-sized standee of Joseph, so if you’d wanna take your picture with (him), you’ll have that ability.”
Johnson’s first day as executive director was Monday, but he moved back to St. Joseph with his wife eight years ago. Previous to this, he worked for a nonprofit that helped people find jobs.
“I’ve always had a passion for history, and the history of St. Joe,” Johnson said. “I love the little pieces of this museum that nobody knows about,” like the ones found by the dug up well, “if your doll broke, you just tossed it out the back door.”
Robidoux Row may have been one of the first apartments west of Mississippi, and the museum keeps finding new ways to tell its history, this time with new displays.
“Without Joseph, St. Joe would not exist. His relationship with the local Native American tribes led to the Platte Purchase,” Johnson said. “The Missouri Government was asked or basically told by the local tribes — Joseph gets land or we’re not going for this.”
The bottom floor of Robidoux Row can be rented out for private events, and the museum also is looking to grow membership to the St. Joseph Historical Society.
“The history of this town needs to be embraced, and if we embrace that history we can become so much better than we are today,” Johnson said.