Introduction to Joplin, Missouri
Joplin is located in the southwestern portion of Missouri in Jasper County, near the edge of the Ozark Mountain area. The city is the commercial, medical, transportation and educational center for the region. The town was named after Reverend Harris Joplin who established the region's first Methodist congregation. The municipality is part of the Four State area which includes Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas.
Before the Civil War, lead ore had been discovered in the Joplin Creek Valley but extracting the lead did not significantly occur until the war had ended. By 1871 numerous small mining camps had been established. The city was founded in 1873. The primary factors for the economy were zinc and lead. The area has experienced extensive deep mining and surface mining.
With the arrival of the railroad and a trolley system, the mining town experienced substantial growth and became the center of Southwest Missouri. A large number of bars and hotels as well as upscale homes were constructed. The famous criminals Bonnie and Clyde stayed in Joplin for a few weeks and robbed some of the local businesses. After the end of World War II the vast majority of the mines were shutdown.
Some of the notable sites are the House of Lords, Union Depot, Liberty Building, the Frisco Depot, the Keystone Hotel, Fox Theatre and the Crystal Cave. Other prominent attractions are:
- Thomas Hart Benton Mural located in the city hall is a notable work of art which showcases the early days of the city and its history of mining.
- The Scottish Rite.
- Everett J. Ritchie Tri-State Mineral Museum includes one of the world's best and unique exhibits of lead and zinc ore and is situated in a reproduced mine shaft.
- Dorothea B. Hoover Historical Museum.
- John Q. Hammons Convention and Trade Center is a prominent location for conventions and large events.
- The Chert glades located in Wildcat Glades Park.
- Grand Falls situated on Shoal Creek is one of the most scenic locations in the state.
- Spiva Center for the Arts.
- Sergeant Avenue and Moffet Avenue feature numerous noteworthy historic homes.
- Connie's Flea Market.
- The Little Theatre.
Eight notable lakes and a large number of clear-water streams provide opportunities for recreational activities. The Bridge recreation and entertainment Center is a popular location for kids. The facility features a wide variety of activities. The George Washington Carver Monument includes a museum and a trail which passes through native prairie, wooded areas and runs by streams and ponds. The reptile zoo includes a vast collection of exotic animals including alligators, pythons, iguanas, cobras and crocodiles. The Airfest Joplin and Boomtown Days are noteworthy events.
The city is home to Missouri Southern State University, Ozark Christian College, Vatterott College, Messenger College as well as Franklin Technology Center.