Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of 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 eleven nonfiction books, two novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Springfield: The Seamy Side of the Queen City, Murder and Mayhem in Missouri, and The Siege of Lexington, Missouri: the Battle of the Hemp Bales.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Little York

I've always been fascinated by the way some early communities prospered and grew, while others stagnated or completely died out. And often the towns that nowadays are the most populous and vital are not the oldest. For instance, Little York was a prosperous little community in western Greene County, a mile or two west of present-day Brookline, that no longer even exists. When the railroad came through about 1872, the new community of Brookline grew up beside the railroad, and most of the people of Little York moved to the new town. Republic came along in the same general vicinity about the same time as Brookline and, of course, outshone both Little York and Brookline to the point that Brookline, too, is today little more than a wide place in the road. Ebenezer and Cave Spring, a couple of other very early communities of Greene County, barely exist today. Then you have towns like Fair Grove and Walnut Grove that have been around since before the Civil War but have never experienced quite the growth that newer communities like Nixa, Republic, and Willard have. In the case of Fair Grove, its lack of growth during the late 1800s and early 1900s may have had to do with its lack of a railroad. In the case of Walnut Grove, it may have had more to do with its distance from Springfield. The same phenomenon that we see in Greene County was also at work here in Jasper County (as well as other places, I'm sure). We have communities here like Medoc and Fidelity that predated the Civil War but that barely exist nowadays, whereas newer communities like Carl Junction have boomed in recent years. In fact, because Jasper County was a huge mining district in the late 1800s, we probably have more than our share of once-booming little towns that now no longer exist or barely exist. Then we have Oronogo, which is an example of a town that was a booming mining town, virtually died out, but has made a comeback in recent years and is now a thriving bedroom community for people who work in the Joplin area. Joplin itself, of course, is not nearly as old as some of the other towns in Jasper County, like Carthage and Sarcoxie.

2 Comments:

Blogger Betty Craker Henderson said...

Congratulations, Larry, on winning the Major Works Award from Missouri Writer's Guild for your book on Newtonia! So proud! Also,for winning the Best Book with the other Civil War novel (even though I lost to you...pooh!).

April 11, 2011 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Larry Wood said...

Thanks, Betty. I was pleassantly surprised to win. I was hoping at least to place but didn't really expect to win. I notice you have a story in the new Mysteries of the Ozarks anthology. Congratulations. I haven't read it yet, but I'll get around to it one of these days.

April 16, 2011 at 9:03 AM  

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