Last week I shared a hodgepodge of mostly local history borrowed from previous History Guy columns.
For the sake of space I had to halve my original list. Today I thought would offer the rest. Most are simply tidbits of local, and some national, history.
I do have a correction to submit from last week. Mr. Les Bond told me the other day that the Neosho water treatment plant was built in 1941, not 1942 (I did note “circa 1942,” but I should be more precise about dates anyway, and usually try to be). He said he was sure of that, as it is associated in his memory with the year of a record flood, by my understanding. I haven’t delved into the newspaper archives to check that out, but I don’t doubt that Mr. Bond is correct.
By the way, local newspaper archives aren’t found at the newspaper office. At least not at the Neosho Daily News, where I worked for several years. They are on microfilm at the Neosho-Newton County Library. I only bring that up because that was a request the paper would receive from time to time during my employment there. I’d bet it still is.
Enjoy your Sunday, everyone.
• Before 1833, all of Southwest Missouri was embraced by Crawford County. Then the southwestern counties, including what is today Newton and McDonald, of course, all became part of Greene County when it was carved out of Crawford. That only lasted two years, and then Barry County was formed to encompass what is now Barry, McDonald, Newton, Jasper, Lawrence, Barton, Dade and part of Cedar counties. The county seat in those days was a place called Mt. Pleasant, located about one and half miles west of today's Pierce City. Next, Newton County was sliced off of Barry County and in 1838 became its own political jurisdiction. At that time it also included what is now McDonald County. In 1849, McDonald County was created out of the southern half of Newton County.
• Dave Watson opened Granny’s Ice Cream around 1988 (sorry about the approximate date again) on the northeast corner of Main and Jefferson Streets in Neosho. He only sold Haagen-Dazs ice cream. The shop closed after about a year or so in business.
• In Missouri, anyone who wishes to visit an abandoned cemetery that is completely surrounded by private property has right of access, under certain provisions. The rules are that you do your visiting during “reasonable hours” and “only for purposes associated with cemetery visits.” So no cemetery parties. Missouri Revised Statutes 214.132.
• Every Neosho high school class used to pick its own colors, sometimes changing them every year from freshman on up through senior year. It wasn't until 1922 that black and gold became the official Neosho school colors.
• Fourteen of the roads in the former Camp Crowder area were named for residents displaced by the camp; 29 roads were named for area men killed in World War I; and 33 roads in the Camp Crowder area were named for famous Missourians.
• Colorado was the first state to make Columbus Day an official holiday, in 1906. It became a federal holiday in 1937.
• Benton Elementary in Neosho is not named for Neosho’s famous artist, Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975). When the original Benton Elementary was built in 1898, on what today is Park Street, it was actually named after the artist's father, Maecenas Eason Benton (1848-1924), our U.S. Congressman at the time. His more famous son was just a younker when the school was built and had yet to earn his legacy. A sidenote to sidenote: the original Benton School was torn down and a new one put up in its place in 1937. That school has also since been demolished, though the foundation is still there. The city would like to turn that site into a neighborhood park.
And that’s all folks! At least for now.
Wes Franklin serves on the Newton County Historical Society Board of Directors. He is also public relations director and events coordinator for the City of Neosho. Contact him at 658-8443.