De Soto is a city in Jefferson County, Missouri, United States. The population was 6,400 at the 2010 census and is part of the St. Louis metropolitan area. The Van Metre family were first to settle in 1803. The town was organized in 1857 and is named for the explorer Hernando De Soto, who claimed the Louisiana Territory for Spain. De Soto was the city closest to the mean center of U.S. population in 1980. The city celebrated its Bicentennial in 2003. The city made national news on and after May 6, 2003, when straightline winds and a tornado struck.
De Soto was platted in 1857, and named after Hernando de Soto (c. 1496/1497–1542), Spanish conquistador. A post office has been in operation at De Soto since 1858. The city is known as "Fountain City" because of the numerous artesian wells. Water from these wells and springs was bottled and shipped by tank car to the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis. The Central School Campus and Louis J. and Harriet Rozier House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.30 square miles (11.14 km²), all of it land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 6,400 people, 2,629 households, and 1,633 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,488.4 inhabitants per square mile (574.7/km²). There were 2,927 housing units at an average density of 680.7 per square mile (262.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.8% White, 1.6% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.
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