Local author and historian Larry James will take the reader back in time, to a Neosho that no longer exists although some remnants remain. In Neosho:The Baby Boomer Years Part 2, James continues his chronicle of Neosho in the 1950's and 1960's.
"This is my era," James aid. "It's the same era as all of my friends were in. I lived through the entire era thought I was small for a part of it. A lot of people can remember - this was their time period too."
The volume includes familiar places, even for a younger generation. Early photos of Neosho High School are included. The location of the then new high school sparked growth along Neosho Boulevard although at the time, many residents were skeptical of the location because it was basically out of town.
Businesses that were located along the Boulevard at the height of the Baby Boomer years included Foodtown, a supermarket located where Arvest Bank now stands and the Wildcat Drive-In, now the site of Spee Dee Lube. The Wildcat was a favorite of Neosho High School students with burgers, fries and soft drinks. Their Sophisticated Chicken was popular with all ages.
This was also the era when Neosho was an All-American City and in the glory days as the Flowerbox City. Efforts are underway in Neosho to #bringbackthebloom and regain the reputation. Several photographs provide a window into the heyday of the Flowerbox City.
"I combined a little bit of everything," James said. "It's not one particular history."
James is the author of more than twenty books on Neosho and area history. Some were co-authored with Kay Hively. Some of the previous books focused on Neosho's early years, local school history and some of the outlying Newton County communities. In fact, a book focused on Seneca history may be the next work-in-progress for James.
"There's only one community I haven't done and that's Seneca," James said. "But I'm probably going to take a rest before I start it."
Numerous photographs of the Neosho Square are included from a time when it was the retail center of town. Other photographs chronicle festivals no longer celebrated including the Strawberry Festival, Community Halloween Celebration and various parades including the annual rodeo parade.
"We could start on one side of the square and walk around the whole square," James recalled. "There were retail establishments on every side, even some along the side streets leading to the square including Spring Street."
James' book is available to purchase at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery Gift Shop, Mitchell's On The Boulevard, Mitchell's Downtown Drug Store, the Newton County Historical Museum, Rod's Place and at Silhouette Imaging. The cost is $15, the same price as for James' other books.
Neosho: The Baby Boomer Years Part 2 offers a window into Neosho's past, bringing back memories or for younger generations it's the closet thing to time travel.