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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • WES FRANKLIN: An ‘explosive’ Fourth?

  • What with the Independence Day celebrations going on in our area, I heard something interesting the other day about a Fourth of July fiasco that purportedly occurred many decades ago.
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  • What with the Independence Day celebrations going on in our area, I heard something interesting the other day about a Fourth of July fiasco that purportedly occurred many decades ago.
    I’d like to know more about it.
    Neosho has held its “Celebrate Neosho” fireworks show at the city airport for the past two years. You may have even attended it last evening. However, back when the airport was where part of the city golf course is now (it adjoined the original course then), the Independence Day fireworks show was also held at the airport. So it isn’t really a new tradition after all.
    In fact, it must have been a long-standing one, because I recently ran across a newspaper article from 1928 about the fireworks show being at the Neosho airport. However, the airport at that time was even farther west of the golf course. It didn’t relocate beside the then-golf course until 1931. It wasn’t until 1966 that the airport moved to its present location at 1400 Terry Johnson Dr., on what was once part of Camp Crowder, thanks to a federal land grant.
    But I digress.
     Someone dropped by this past week and told me that in the late ‘50s or early ‘60s, one airport fireworks show didn’t turn out so well. Apparently, the fireworks exploded prematurely on the ground. That’ll ruin a show, I’d say. I don’t know if anyone was injured or not. In fact, I really don’t know much else about the incident at all.
    All I need is a specific year, or even five-year bracket, that this occurred. That should make it relatively easy to find. Or if anyone recalls anything about it, that would help too.
    It isn’t that I want to highlight bad incidents from our past. This is simply a page of our local history that I would like to know more about. Hey, history is history, warts and all.
    Have a safe Fourth of July everyone!
    Wes Franklin serves on the board of directors of the Newton County Historical Society. He is also public relations/events coordinator for the City of Neosho. Call him at 658-8443.

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