The First Ward House in St. Joseph is recognized by many as the oldest continuously operated saloon west of the Mississippi River.

Though owners of the business have come and gone over the years, the original bar top dating back to 1878 still stands. The First Ward House regularly hosts live music, karaoke and trivia nights, and boasts a large outdoor patio.

The business has been the subject of many rumors — some say Jesse James and Bonnie and Clyde came through the establishment, while others think the place might be haunted.

Today, the menu includes several dishes harkening back to the famous outlaws, such as the Clyde Tenderloin or the Jesse James sandwich, which contains pulled pork, brisket and turkey. Some have dubbed the kitchen's wings the best in town.

Inside you'll find a pool table, dart board, even an original Nintendo Entertainment System, and 20 taps change up the alcohol offerings. 

After a fire in 2015, the building had to be renovated, but the original 1878 bar top was saved. 

  • I'm currently on the graphics desk. I've also been an assistant city editor and a reporter on the community and education beats. You can reach me by email at or on Twitter @_oliviagarrett.

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