About Us

Where did the city’s name of “Wood Heights” originate?

‘Wood Heights’ is the city’s official name; however, it is also known as ‘Woods Heights’. Robert “Woodson” Hite, born in 1850, was a first cousin to the infamous Frank and Jesse James’ brothers. Wood’s mother, Nancy Gardner James Hite, was the sister of Jesse’s father. Robert was known by the name of Wood Hite. He rode for “Bloody Bill” Anderson during the Kansas-Missouri border war, and later, he and his brother, Clarence, joined the “James Gang”. It is believed that he participated in the Blue Cut, Missouri train robbery on October 8, 1879; the holdup of the Riverton, Iowa bank on July 10, 1881; and the Glendale, Missouri train robbery on September 7, 1881. Wood was shot and killed by Robert (Bob) Ford on December 4, 1881 in Ray County, Missouri, at the home of Bob Ford’s widowed sister, Mrs. Martha Bolton, whom Wood was romantically attached. He was shot during a disagreement with Dick Liddel, another member of the James’ Gang, over Mrs. Bolton’s affections. As the disagreement escalated, Bob Ford sided with Dick Liddel. Guns were pulled by both men, and it was Bob Ford who actually killed Wood. Wood was said to have been buried out in the woods behind Mrs. Bolton’s house in an unmarked grave. Bob Ford later shot and killed Jesse James in 1882.

Additional Information:

The City of Wood Heights is located in Ray County, Missouri.

The population of Wood Heights in 2011 was 717. The city has a total area of 2.3 square miles, of which 2.2 square miles is land and the remainder is water. There are 248 households located within the city limits. There is approximately 11.8 miles of streets within the city.

Although the City of Wood Heights is its own city, we use the Excelsior Springs Zip Code of 64024 as we are serviced by the Excelsior Springs’ post office. You are a resident of Wood Heights, not Excelsior Springs, and you should always make sure that you are listing Wood Heights as your city of residence. This is extremely important when you are making a large purchase, such as a vehicle – new or used. The tax rate that you will pay will be that of Wood Heights and not Excelsior Springs, which is higher than Wood Heights. Also, those taxes collected for an automobile will be paid back to Wood Heights, not Excelsior Springs, only if you are using Wood Heights as your city of residence.

When using the 64024 Zip Code, computers will automatically indicate that you are a resident within ‘Clay’ County which is where Excelsior Springs is located. That is incorrect! Wood Heights is located within ‘Ray’ County. This is again important when purchasing a vehicle. Please ensure to watch for that error.

City Government:

Wood Heights is a fourth class city within the state of Missouri. Fourth class cities have a population range between 500 to 2,999 inhabitants. Fourth class cities are allowed to have a mayor-council (board of aldermen) form of government and the mayor-city administrator-alderman form of government. Wood Heights has the mayor-council (board of aldermen) form of government. This form is the most common form of municipal government in Missouri. Under this form of government, the voters elect a mayor and four (4) aldermen to two-year terms of office. Our aldermen serve at-large, meaning they represent the whole city rather than one neighborhood.

After you have lived in the City for one (1) year and meet other requirements, you may be eligible to run for any council position that is available.

Register with Ray County to be able to vote.

Currently, Board of Aldermen Meetings are held on the third Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend. During the meetings, there is a timeframe when the meeting is opened to the floor for attendees to speak or ask questions of their council.

Taxes are collected by the Ray County Collector’s office located at the Ray County Courthouse, 100 W. Main Street, Richmond, MO 64085 and are distributed to the City of Wood Heights as they are collected.

Phone: 816-776-2187

City Hall