Missouri and Ozarks History

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

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I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Indian Springs

Last time I mentioned Saratoga Springs, located in southwestern McDonald County, as an example of a town that was founded during the mineral-water craze of the early 1880s. Although it was briefly popular as a medical resort shortly after it opened, it never really caught on the way some of the other spring-water towns, like Eureka Springs, did. Another mineral-water town that was founded in McDonald County shortly after Saratoga Springs, however, did rival Eureka Springs in popularity, at least briefly among Joplinites. Indian Springs was laid out in July of 1881 on Indian Creek in the northern part of McDonald County. The growth of the place was so rapid that by August of the same year the founders were already laying out additions to the town, and the population soared, reportedly approaching 2,000 people at its peak. Among the visitors to Indian Springs during the summer and early fall of 1881 was a steady stream of folks from Joplin looking for a little relaxation and spa treatment. The greater popularity of Indian Springs over Saratoga Springs with Joplinites can be partially explained by the simple fact that it was closer to Joplin, but also Indian Springs was better organized and promoted. However, its popularity, too, like that of Saratoga Springs, soon ran its course, and by the turn of the twentieth century when its name was changed to McNatt (after the town's founder), Indian Springs was little more than a wide place in the road.

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