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Situated along the Missouri River in Franklin County, Missouri, the city of Washington bills itself as the corncob pipe capital of the world, with the Missouri Meerschaum Company, the world's oldest tobacco smoking pipe manufacturer and the largest manufacturer of corncob pipes, located along the riverfront. The community was settled while the area was under Spanish rule in the late 1700s, and originally known as St. John Meyer's Settlement. Family members and followers of Daniel Boone came to the area in the 1790s and 1800s, and a ferry boat crossed the river there in 1814, which led to the settlement becoming known as Washington Landing. A town was laid out in 1827, and land was offered for free to those who could build a home on it within two years. Anti-slavery German families began moving to the area in the 1830s, overwhelming the pro-slavery population, and Washington was a strong supporter of the Union during the Civil War. Troops under the command of Confederate General Sterling Price ransacked the town but did not occupy it. The town has 445 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Surrounding communities include Femme Osage, Peers and Schluersburg, across the river, and Boles, Clover Bottom, Lyon, New Haven, Union, and Villa Ridge, on the same side of the Missouri.

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