Appleton City dates its birth to a short time before the arrival of the Iron Horse or what was known as the Tebo & Neosho Railroad, which then merged with the Katy or Missouri-Kansas & Texas division of the Missouri Pacific Railroad.
In 1868, William M. Prier one of the first settlers in St. Clair County, purchased the ground that is now embraced within the city limits. He platted a portion for a town but failed to realize on it at the time. The city was then known as Arlington. It was platted in September of 1870 and a local area paper reported in October of that year that the new town had, “thirty good buildings being constructed and double or triple that number under contract.” It would be the first station in St. Clair County for the MKT Railroad. That was as far as Arlington got.