Residents of DeSoto, the “City of Pride” and the home of Governor Jay Nixon, enjoy a relaxed lifestyle. There is a pleasant blend of living in a somewhat rural setting while having easy access to a large metropolitan area. DeSoto’s residents can enjoy a very safe, family-oriented environment with a mild, humid climate that invites year-round outdoor activities. DeSoto is rich in history and proud of its heritage, with high values placed on education, safety and hard work.
The city has three retail shopping centers, five banking facilities, three grocery stores, an automobile dealer, antique and specialty shops and several restaurants. For years, DeSoto has been a self-reliant source of commercial shopping. Assisting in the development of DeSoto is the Jefferson County Growth and Development Association and the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce. Both organizations promote residential growth and economic development in our area while providing a positive image of the quality of life in Jefferson County.
DeSoto is a town with many family businesses that have been handed down from generation to generation. In 1868, the first business in DeSoto was started as a blacksmith shop, then expanded into a carriage business, and it operates today as B.F. Mahn & Sons, Inc. They specialize in custom built residential and light commercial installations and repairs. Now in its fourth generation, they still stand by their motto, “Quality service at an affordable price.”
Another longstanding family business is the Mahn Funeral Home, which began with Daniel J. Mahn’s embalming license in 1914 and has expanded to now include Mahn Twin City Chapel, another Mahn funeral home, and Peaceful Ridge Cemetery. There are many such family businesses, which began in those early days and are still thriving today. E.S. Fauth, whose father was a charter member of DeSoto Chamber of Commerce and the former superintendent of the DeSoto Shoe Factory, began his business, Fauth Appliance, over 50 years ago. Today his son, Stan Fauth, has taken his father’s original idea and expanded to include bottled water, commercial and residential water treatment equipment, as well as a full line of name-brand appliances. Fo Jo Studio, another family-owned business, is now over 100 years old and is run by Felix Millfeld.
As it progressed, DeSoto became known for its Artesian Wells, which bubbled throughout the town. DeSoto has been nicknamed “Fountain City” because of these wells. They are rare and found only where the sand and rock construction of the earth are conducive to their formation. In 1904, at the World’s Fair in St. Louis (the “Louisiana Purchase Exposition”), water from these springs was bottled and sent by tank car where it was sold for five cents per cup.
Throughout DeSoto’s 200 years, twice it has been named an “All America City” and once was named the population center of the United States.
Today, DeSoto is one of the largest communities in Jefferson County. Jefferson County has over 200,000 residents and DeSoto and its surrounding area has over 20,000 with 6,000 of those citizens within city limits. Jefferson County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the state.