Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of Missouri, the Ozarks region, and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written sixteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Women of Missouri, Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, and Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Blendville and Blende City

Everybody makes mistakes. If I see a historical date listed as July 13, 1888, for instance, when I know that the event in question actually happened on July 12, 1888, I don't get particularly upset, and I hope people don't hold me to such a high standard that I'm not allowed an occasional slip-up (although I do try to limit such errors to a minimum). The Internet, in particular, seems to be the source of a lot of misinformation; so much of what you read online needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
However, some mistakes are so obvious that they are hard to overlook. This is especially true when the information is being disseminated by otherwise reputable organizations or institutions. Recently, for instance, I found two different websites on the Internet listing Jasper County place names, one site maintained by the University of Missouri's Western Historical Manuscript Collection and the other maintained by the Springfield-Greene County Library's local history section, that both contain the same mistake. Both say that Blende City and Blendville were synonymous--that Blendville was a later name for Blende City. In fact, they were two separate communities, both of which arose during the lead and zinc mining boom of the late nineteenth century in the Jasper County area.
Blende City was a mining camp that sprang up in the early 1880s a mile or two southwest of Carl Junction and about ten miles or so northwest of Joplin. It grew to a population of over a thousand people during its heyday, but today it is not part of a populated area and almost nothing remains to suggest that it ever existed.
Blendville, on the other hand, arose a few years after Blende City and was located a mile or two southwest of Joplin. Today it is part of Joplin, and the Blendville Christian Church is still located in the neighborhood.
The websites' explanation of how the two communities got their name is also incorrect, or at least incomplete. The websites suggest that the derivation of the names had to do with the blending of ores. In fact, blende is another name for sphalerite, which is the chief ore of zinc, just as galena is the chief ore of lead.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you are saying is true. My late grandfather Roy Blizzard Sr. used to take me around and show me all the history of the area and I remember riding with him north of Joplin by Carl Junction on day and him telling me about "Blend City". There is only a few chat piles left marking the area. Roy Blizzard III

February 10, 2009 at 7:01 AM  

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