Missouri Armories: The Guard’s Home in Architecture and History

Robert P. Wiegers


The armory buildings in most Missouri towns are the unheralded local face of the Missouri National Guard.

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The armory buildings in most Missouri towns are the unheralded local face of the Missouri National Guard. Home to a part-time militia within communities around the state, the armories provide hallowed spaces to Guard members and serve the public in emergencies. Robert Wiegers presents a thorough look at the architectural and historical development of these buildings throughout the state. Divided into six categories based on architectural style, he includes 185 photos with historical data in this comprehensive inventory of Missouri’s armories.

Robert Wiegers has done an outstanding job of showing the historical development of the Missouri National Guard and its important role and that of its varied armories within the life of the local community as well as its contributions on the larger stage.

—William E. Parrish, Professor Emeritus of History,
Mississippi State University

The National Guard is the oldest component of our country’s armed forces, and its citizen-soldiers have left significant marks on public life, perhaps  most visibly in the thousands of armories they have used over hundreds of years, many of which can still be seen scattered throughout the country. In Missouri Armories, historian and preservationist Dr. Robert P. Wiegers unravels the story of these armories in Missouri, in a volume that is rich in historical detail and enhanced with numerous photographs.

—Osmund Overby, Professor Emeritus,
University of Missouri

This valuable book demonstrates the symbolic importance of Missouri’s armories. Robert Wiegers skillfully relates the changing architectural styles of these iconic structures to the larger history of the Missouri National Guard and the evolving character of its missions. Those interested in military history, historic preservation, and state and local history will want to add this handsomely illustrated volume to their collections.

—William E. Foley, Professor Emeritus,
University of Central Missouri


Illustrations, Map, and Table
Foreword by Lt. Col. (Ret.) Orval L. Henderson Jr.
Foreword by Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner
Introduction: Historians and Heralds

Chapter 1: Discovering the Armory
Chapter 2: Main Street Armories: The Vernacular Category
Chapter 3: Castle Armories: The Castellated Category
Chapter 4: Depression-Era Armories: The Art Deco/WPA Category
Chapter 5: Cold War Armories: The Midcentury Modern and Type 783 Category
Chapter 6: Traditional Revival Armories: The Postmodern Category
Chapter 7: Architectural Gems: The Unique Category
Chapter 8:  The Missouri National Guard Armory in History and Culture

Works Cited
About the Author


After graduating from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, Robert P. Wiegers joined the US Army in 1969, and served in Ethiopia, Vietnam, and West Germany. Wiegers attended graduate school at Boston University and the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he completed a doctorate in anthropology in 1985. He joined the Missouri Army National Guard in 1986 and completed twenty-five years of combined service in 2004. He took a teaching position at Central Methodist College (now University) in 1989, where he is a professor of history. Wiegers and his wife, Martha, live in Fayette, Missouri. Their two sons, Carey and Trevor, are presently serving with the US Army.


Missouri Armories is a fascinating combination of militia and National Guard history supported by a profusely illustrated description of the actual armories, past and present.... The volume belongs in a reader’s bookshelf, as a worthy companion to Robert M. Fogelson’s classic, America’s Armories: Architecture, Society, and Public Order. For those interested in the National Guard, this is a “must have.”

—G. Alan Knight,
The Journal of America’s Military Past

Wiegers provides a detailed history of the Missouri guard from its founding as a French militia in 1751 to its current role as the Missouri National Guard. Uniquely, he traces this history through guardhouse architecture.... With nearly 190 illustrations and maps, Wiegers’s work provides an insightful narrative and visual accounting of the guard’s history.

Kansas History, Book Notes

This work surveys the history and architecture of National Guard armory buildings in Missouri and looks at the Guard’s connections with individual communities in the state through the public use of armories.

Research Book News, December 2012

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