On St. Patrick's Day, 1827, a pioneer searching for a home, was the first white man to stay overnight in the township of La Plata.  Drury Davis laid the foundation stone that day for the town that was to become La Plata, Missouri.  Friends and relatives soon followed him and staked land.  Later there was a stage road north and south, a stage station, an inn, and a blacksmith shop.  Food was brought in from Hannibal.

In March, 1855 , a young surveyor was hired to lay out the town, many of our present streets have kept their original names after the early settlers.  A name for the town which would please everyone was hard to find.  The name "La Plata" was drawn from a hat in which anyone who wished could put the name they preferred.  "La Plata" is a Spanish word meaning "City of Silver".  Pony Express mail service out of La Plata was available from 1860 to the coming of the railroads.  The North Missouri Railroad was the first through the town in 1867.  In February of 1887, The Santa Fe Railroad followed.  It extended from Chicago to Kansas City and passed through La Plata.

In 1868, the first school was erected and called the Long Branch School, since Long Branch Creek could be seen  from the school's location at the East end of present City Cemetery.  When this structure was found to be too small, a five-room brick building was built in 1872.  This new school  was located one block west of the City square, the site of La Plata's fourth and present school building.

The first major industry to locate within La Plata was a creamery.  The building was erected in 1883 at a cost of $6,000.  It had a capacity of a ton and q quarter of butter per day.  However, when this building burned in 1885, it was never rebuilt.  In 1912, the Prairie Pipeline was the first great oil pipeline built to pass through La Plata.  The Sinclair Pipeline, now Amoco, was the second major pipeline to pass through the City.