In 1887 the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway began construction from Kansas City to Chicago. A location was chosen as a terminal or division point between these two cities, which was situated in North Central Missouri. By January 1888 the first town lot was sold in the newly platted division point of the railway, later to known as Marceline.
Marceline received its name at the request of one of the directors of the new railroad, whose wife bore the somewhat Spanish name of "Marcelina". So with a change of the last vowel, this became the name of the new railroad city.
The new railroad city grew so rapidly that six months after the first lot was sold, it boasted a population of 2,500. Marceline's present population is 2,558 makes it the second largest town in Linn County.
The railroad was not the only major developing factor to Marceline. Coal was found to be an abundant resource in this area. In 1937, one mine listed at Marceline ranked Linn County 13th in coal producing counties of the State.
It was not until 1903 that the Missouri Division of the Santa Fe was created by splitting the Chicago Division and Missouri Division making Marceline a more important railroad center. As Marceline was freight division point and freight crews were changed here, many of the employees made their homes in Marceline.
With the passing of the boom town days and additional developments and stabilization of its railroad offices, the businesses of the town became more permanent, Marceline continues to prosper as a thriving community nestled in the hills of north central Missouri. Situated three miles south of State Highway 36 on Highway 5, Marceline has much to offer any family.
For a city of 2,558 population, Marceline offers a host of activities and interest for everyone. The area currently supports a great number of industrial, agricultural, commercial, and recreational businesses and organizations. Yet it still has the potential for growth and development for those seeking such.
Family life is important in Marceline. The public school system is AAA rated and provides quality education. There is also a private school which has kindergarten, elementary, and junior high facilities.
Recreational facilities include a swimming pool, tennis courts, ball parks, country club, golf course, parks, and area lakes