Bismarck, situated in the western part of St. Francois County, owes its origin and early growth to the farming interests about it and its location at the intersection of the Belmont branch with the main line of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway. Bismarck was first laid out and surveyed in 1868. It was named after the Iron Chancellor of Germany, Prince Otto Eduard Leopold Von Bismarck, as there was a strong desire to attract German immigrants to the growing railroad area.
The railroad ran through the town from the northwest to the southeast. All of the original streets of Bismarck, with the exception of Main and Center, were named after trees.