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.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Windyville

Now virtually extinct, Windyville, Missouri, was located in Dallas County about 15 miles northeast of Buffalo. I recall that, when I was in high school in the early to mid 1960s at Fair Grove, Windyville still had a high school. In fact, I think we even played them a time or two in basketball. Windyville lost its high school a year or two after I graduated. I might be wrong, but I think 1965-66 was the last school year before Windyville consolidated with Buffalo. Windyville had already been losing population and businesses in the mid-1960s at the time of the consolidation, but the school closing hastened the town's demise. The last time I visited Windyville was around the mid-1970s, and it was basically already a ghost town. I was writing an article for the Ozarks Mountaineer about small towns that had lost their high schools, and at that time Windyville's old high school building was still standing. I'm not sure whether that's still the case or not, but I'm thinking maybe not. Seems I might have heard many years ago that it was destroyed.
At any rate, after Windyville's demise, legends arose saying that the town's remaining buildings and its cemeteries were haunted. I don't know about that, because, as I said, I haven't visited the place in many years. Besides, I tend not to give much credence to ghost stories, but I guess some people enjoy them.
Regardless of whether the place is haunted, there's very little at Windyville nowadays to suggest that it ever mounted to much, but, in fact, it was a pretty booming little community back in the day.
Like most small towns in the Ozarks, Windyville had a tomato canning factory during the early to mid-nineteenth century when tomatoes were mostly grown on small, locally owned farms rather than large commercial farms as they are today. Apparently Windyville's canning factory was a cut above the typical such operation. During the growing season of 1925, the Windyville factory canned 96,000 cans of tomatoes, which was some kind of record at the time, at least for Windyville. The champion grower of the area was Frank Dugan, who produced 18,570 pounds of tomatoes gathered off a single acre, netting Mr. Dugan $111.42.
Windyville High School fielded a basketball team at least as early as the 1920s, and the school had some pretty good teams for a small school. They even competed against and held their own with larger schools like Lebanon. I recently came across a newspaper story from December 1928 reporting on a Windyville High School basketball game against Elkland (which is another virtual ghost town that lost its high school many years ago). The Windyville Bulldogs defeated the Elkland five by a score of 35-23. D. Triplett for Windyville and R. Pursel for Elkland were named the outstanding stars of the game for their respective teams.
On Wednesday, November 25, 1936, the Windyville High School building burned down. The fire was believed to have been caused by a defective flue. A basket dinner and student program involving children from four different Dallas County grade schools had just been held before the fire broke out. Two days later plans were being made to resume classes at the high school the following Monday by utilizing the community building and purchasing used textbooks at a discount in Kansas City. Plans were also already being discussed to build a new building for the district's sixty-four high school students.
So, I guess when I described the Windyville High School that I remember as the "old high school building," I was employing a fairly loose meaning of the word "old," because the building was apparently less than 30 years old when Windyville consolidated with Buffalo. .

1 Comments:

Blogger A.P. Hill said...

Thanks again Larry.

January 4, 2017 at 6:45 AM  

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