Altamont was laid out circa 1890. The town was so named on account of its lofty elevation, located on MO-6 about three miles northeast of Winston, MO, with Gallatin about six miles northeast. The Altamont Post Office has been in operation since 1890. Altamont’s population was 171 at the 2020 Census. The village has a total area of .026 miles.
Altamont, MO, of Yesteryear
This 1910 postcard scene displays Altamont Main Street, looking north.
The Citizens Bank of Altamont, facing west on the east side of Main Street.
This postcard scene shows businesses along Main Street, with East 2nd Street (Hwy 6) lying between the first building left and the others to the south.
In 1910 Citizens State Bank stood on the northeast corner of the intersection of Main Street and MO-6 (East 2nd Street). Behind the bank on the corner within the same building was Harter’s General Store; the second story of this entire building was a lodge hall.
In 1910 the west side of Main Street in Altamont; MO; included the Red Onion Cafe. The city pump is shown at lower left. Various businesses operated in these buildings; including a barber shop operated by Francis Bassett. Buildings to the north housed hardware stores; grocery stores and another cafe.
For years this building was home for the Bromley Barber Shop in Altamont. A north room was occupied by a ladies toggery, later a cafe and other businesses. The VanDyke and the Elliott Stores were the last occupants before the building was destroyed by fire.
During the days of CRI&P train transportation, Altamont boasted a nice hotel erected by the Novack family. Sleeping rooms were upstairs above private living quarters for the owners plus a dining room, lobby and a room where dresses and hats were sold. A son, Lester Novack, became a famous pianist.
Altamont Pharmacy on the town’s main street is the picture of yesteryear.
Cartoon caricatures were often used in business promotions as the country entered into the 20th Century. Here an Altamont dentist seems to make tooth extraction painless in this cartoon dated 1901.
Main Street in Altamont, MO, was once a busy place attracting many customers during the horse-and-buggy days.
For many years a small weekly newspaper, The Altamont Times, was produced by Mr. and Mrs. Orlo Tedrick. A letterpress was used until later years when offset printing of the newspaper was done at Gallatin Publishing Company. Santa and Orlo eventually ceased publication in the 1980s.
The cap piece on Altamont’s new water tower was carefully lowered into correct position.
Altamont, MO, Railroad Scenes
An important stop on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (CRI&P) Railroad was at Altamont, MO, in 1914. The Rock Island built 13 houses here for workers, eight of which were still in use as residences over a century later.
For years Altamont, MO, was an important stop on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad (CRI&P) as trains went across Daviess County. Altamont was headquarters for bridge gangs, line crews, coal chute, water works, section crews, round house, car repair department and depot agents who worked whenever needed, around the clock. (date unknown)
The Altamont Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad (CRI&P) depot and tracks in 1908. (courtesy Jack Tingler)
This photo of the Rock Island train depot was taken in 1915 at a time when Altamont featured an ice house operated by Roberts General Store. Mr. Roberts built a cement block building located on the alley north and west of the Christian Church. Ice would be cut off the railroad lake just outside town, hauled to the building and buried in saw dust. This ice was then used to cool meat, ice cream, pop and food cases for use during the summer months.
The advancement of highways for trucking, and later the interstate highway system, forced many changes in the business climate of railroads across America. This newspaper clipping in February, 1939, notes the end of a rail service that once operated between Altamont, MO, and Leavenworth, KS.
Altamont, MO, School
This photo of Altamont School (circa 1940) shows the second building for public education in the community. This brick building (with a heating system for the entire building in the basement) was built in 1915. It featured four large classrooms and a superintendent’s office. When enrollments increased; another building known as the “bungalow” was built nearby for classes. After Rosendale and Hopkins schools merged with Altamont; the school became known as Altamont Consolidated District #5. The first graduating class completing four years of high school here was in 1923. High school classes were discontinued here during World War II; with students attending either Gallatin or Winston. In 1954 Altamont school was annexed into Gallatin. This building was sold in 1958 and later it was razed. (photo courtesy Class of 1928)
School wagons drawn by horses rather than motor carrier transported children to public schools in rural Missouri well into the 1930s, sometimes even later. Shown above is James Douglas Lollar, driving for the Altamont School about 1936. The “bus” sported a heating stove for those long, cold trips.
Altamont, MO, Churches
Postcard photo of Altamont Methodist Church (date unknown).
In 1899 land was purchased for $250 to build a church in Altamont, MO. The building completed in 1900 is the same building in use today. The first Sunday School records are dated 1908; graded lessons were added in 1915. During the 1920s a youth organization, the Epworth League, had 65 members. In the fall of 1921 a revival added 50 persons by profession of faith and baptism. A women’s organization has always been an active part of the church. In 1950 a Sunday School room with the kitchen facilities was added and the sanctuary was paneled. Carpeting and new colored windows were also added. In the 1970s an organ was purchased. The Altamont Methodist Church have shared pastors with Kidder, Winston, Mabel, Civil Bend and Gallatin. — taken from the 1980 Gallatin-Altamont Methodist Church Directory
This postcard scene shows the Altamont Christian Church in 1908. (courtesy Jack Tingler)
In 2021 the United Methodist Church was active in Altamont, MO. Worship services and Sunday School sessions were held on the second, fourth and fifth weeks monthly, led by the minister Marilyn Dorst. (2012 photo)
More Recently in Altamont, MO
The Altamont Post Office was constructed in 2010 while Joe Sloan was postmaster. This 480 sqft building is located at 210 Main Street next to the town water tower. During the previous 15 years, the Altamont Post Office operated from the Roy Sweany Building. Postal service was originally provided from the Sam Kindig farm in the 1870s when the community was known as Farmington, a name later changed to Altamont because of the area having the highest altitude on the Rock Island Railroad between Kansas City and Chicago.