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, April 22, 2017

Neosho and the Golden Rule Plan

In 1925, Reps Dry Goods of Springfield sponsored a series of “ad stories” in the Springfield Leader called “Know Your Neighbor,” which profiled a different community in southwest Missouri each week. In the August 9 issue, Neosho was profiled under the subtitle “The Best Known Town of 5,000 in the United States.”
The profile lauded Neosho for the energy and friendliness of its people and especially for its “Golden Rule” business plan. Often called the “Neosho plan” because it had first been implemented by the Advertising Club of Neosho twelve years earlier, the Golden Rule plan encouraged cooperation between the business people of a community and the farmers who lived in the surrounding countryside. One of the main features of the plan was a monthly “Sales Day” on which the businesses offered special bargains and a farmers’ exchange was set up at the local auction pavilion. People living in the rural areas came to town from miles around, either to take advantage of the bargains or to buy and sell livestock and farm goods at the pavilion. Since its inception in Neosho, the “Golden Rule Plan” had spread to towns and small cities all across the U.S.
The fertile lands around Neosho were said to be excellent for farming, dairying, poultry raising, and fruit growing; and the Newton County Harvest Show was cited as a testament to the success of these endeavors. Held in October of each year, Neosho’s harvest show was praised as one of the best county shows in the state.
“Neosho is also fortunate,” said the profile, “in having three main line railroads which enable the quick distribution of its products to the larger trade centers.” In addition, Neosho was the intersection of two highways, State Highway 21 to Joplin and State Highway 16 to Springfield.
The fact that Neosho’s bank deposits amounted to over two and a half million dollars was evidence of the town’s prosperity.
Neosho was not only well known for its thriving business community, but it was also becoming famous as a health and recreation resort because of its abundance of spring water and artesian well water. People flocked to Neosho from Oklahoma and other states to partake of the healing waters, and the water was also shipped out of Neosho in large glass-lined tank cars.
“Neosho has a modern tourist camp,” said the profile, “and many of the tourists testify to the fact that this is the prettiest town in the Ozarks.” Thousands of tourists came to Neosho every year to take in its scenic beauty or visit its points of interest, the U.S. Fish Hatchery being one of the main attractions.
Neosho had just completed a sewer system at a cost of $180,000 and was planning street paving projects, including the public square, at a cost of $75,000. The profile writer concluded by agreeing with a Neosho resident who’d recently returned from California and announced, “God Almighty has done so much more for Neosho and vicinity than man can possibly do for California.”


Blogger Bill said...


I lived at 1605 Pine street in Rolla with my parents in the early 50s. Dad and I were mowing grass one summer day when an elderly man approached us and said he was an Indian and that several Indians were buried on our property and asked that we respect the land and not to dig any holes. He said his records show they were buried there in the early 1800s. Dad was never able to verify and the gentleman who stopped by had passed on so we were never able to find out. I have read your columns and wonder if you have any info. I'am just curious. I posted this on the blog although its not related to this particular story but it was the only way to get in touch with you.

Bill Beames

May 7, 2017 at 4:50 AM  
Blogger Larry Wood said...

Bill, that's very interesting, but, no, I'm afraid I don't have any info about it. Thanks for contacting me, though.

May 7, 2017 at 12:48 PM  

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