Last week, this column focused on noteworthy individuals with Neosho connections. The town also has a colorful history and can cite achievements, attractions and events which distinguish it from other cities of its size.
Eleven thousand friendly people call Neosho home. Much of the town's appeal is taken for granted. It is located in mid-America where two major highways and two railroads intersect. It is blessed with stunning beauty and has moderate climate. It also enjoys a diverse economy with people who have a good work ethic. Quality schools and health care are available. The YMCA, Little League, and city recreation programs seek to keep us fit. A range of churches nurture the basic goodness of its people, all these contributing to the quality of life.
Other major assets of Neosho include Crowder College, a leader in alternative and renewable energy. The nation's oldest fish hatchery is here. The community has a park for every taste, ranging from well-manicured Big Spring Park downtown to the rustic Bicentennial Park to the south. Morse Park with its meandering spring-fed trout stream, ball fields, skateboard park, disc golf course, picnic pavilions, paved exercise trails and camping area is a treasure in its own right.
The Crowder Industrial Park is a tremendous asset for the area. An array of financial institutions undergird community growth and development. In Crowder Industries, Neosho has one of the state's premier sheltered work facilities.
The city has a variety of attractions throughout the year that capture the interest of residents and visitors, many taking place on the historic courthouse Square. Missouri's largest garage sale is held the first Saturday in April, followed by the Dogwood Tour / fish hatchery open house in mid-April. The first weekend in May is the Hermann Jaeger Festival.
Celebrate Neosho is in late June, including fireworks. Neosho hosts the Newton County Fair in July and the Back to School Summer Social in August. The fall festival with a host of attractions is in October. The Christmas Parade and Dickens Faire is the first Saturday in December. The holiday basketball tournament and the NHS speech and debate contest in February bring hoards of talented young people to the community.
A number of attractions are unique to Neosho. The All-America City, the Flower Box City and the City of Springs can now add the City of Murals to its resume. Other features unique to Neosho include the world's largest flower box, the painting of senior hill, the Laymen's League pre-Christmas services and the Food Basket Brigade. Neosho can also boast of the Heaton House, home of the inventor of the post hole digger, as well as the children's veterans' and senior citizens' fishing derbies. Big Spring Park features a children's wading pool, a floral clock, a Walk of Fame and lunker trout. Neosho was also in the first group of Missouri cities selected for the DREAM initiative.
Page 2 of 2 - The city has had a prominent role in our nation's history. In the early days, the Neosho business community's reputation for fair dealing received publicity nationwide. Camp Crowder served as a training center for some 300,000 service men and women during World War II. The rocket engines that took man to the moon were manufactured here. The coonskin logo for the Frisco Railroad came from Neosho. We have every reason to be Neosho Proud!
Roy Shaver writes a weekly column for the Daily News.