Settled in 1803 but not established until the 1850’s De Soto, Missouri has a rich history as being one of the fastest growing areas of the state. Named after Hernando De Soto, the famous explorer, De Soto was once part of Louisiana Territory until it was transferred to the United States in 1803. Today, De Soto is home to more than 6,000 residents and hardly resembles the historic railroad town it once was. Today, commerce and tourism are steady, the school systems are large sources of employment, and the sense of community is strong. Even though much of the historical significance of the railroad has faded, Union Pacific continues to be a strong economical key to the area. Since the 1960’s De Soto has gained media attention due to a series of tornado outbreaks causing significant damage to the city. The latest tornado to hit the area caused millions of dollars in damage and took nine lives.