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home | Locations | Neosho, Missouri 1 of 11 St. Louis-- . . .

Neosho, Missouri 1 of 11 St. Louis--Metro Missouri areas with Active Retirement Communities Locations.
Ivan Gillis
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Active Retirement Communities


State:    Missouri--Southern


City:     Neosho

Neosho, officially the  City of Neosho is the most populous city in and the county seat of Newton County, Missouri, United States. Neosho is an integral part of the Joplin, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Located in southwestern Missouri on the southern edge of the Midwest, Neosho lies at the western edge of the Missouri Ozarks. The population was 10,505 at the time of the 2000 census.

The name "Neosho" is generally accepted to be of Native American (most likely Osage) derivation, meaning "clear, cold water", referring to local freshwater springs. The springs attracted varying cultures of Native American inhabitants for thousands of years. It was also ideal for the later European-American settlers, who founded their style of city in 1833.  It was incorporated as a municipal government in 1878. Nicknamed "City of Springs", Neosho has served as an agricultural center and more recently as a National Fish Hatchery. Neosho is known locally as "Gateway to the Ozarks" and, since the 1957, as "the Flower Box City".

Neosho natives such as the painter and Regionalist muralist Thomas Hart Benton, ragtime composer and pianist James Scott, and the celebrated African-American inventor and botanist George Washington Carver have contributed to American life. Today, Neosho is enjoying a renaissance, particularly in the historic downtown area. Through a combination of private investment and public resources, numerous restoration and revitalization projects have been undertaken in the historic city center to restore its architectural quality, upgrade the infrastructure, and generally improve the quality of life of downtown. Due to 21st-century widespread economic problems in the region and state, the city is struggling with its budget.

Neosho is developing research to support America's transition to alternative energy. Neosho's Crowder College has been deeply involved in research since the early 1980s; it built the first solar-powered vehicle to successfully complete a coast-to-coast journey across the United States in 1984. In the spring of 2009, the college is scheduled to break ground on the MARET (Missouri Alternative & Renewable Energy Technology) Center, a facility to encourage the development of experimental programs and alternative energy systems.

During these early years the entire area was called "Six Bulls", a coloquialization of "six boils", referring to several large streams flowing through the area, including Shoal Creek, Center Creek, Indian Creek, Spring River, and North Fork.

During the 1840s, mining became a part of Neosho when lead was discovered. Neosho's early commercial development was dominated by lead and zinc mining and Newton County established one of Missouri's earliest commercial operations. Lead was transported by wagon from Neosho to Indian Territory, then shipped down the Arkansas River and Mississippi River to New Orleans.

By special act passed on August 3, 1854, Congress laid out a monthly Pony Express mail route from Neosho to Albuquerque, New Mexico with an annual budget of $17,000. Although following the Mexican-American War, this region had come to be of great commercial and military importance, the line was not a commercial success. In March of the following year the route was changed to run from Independence, Missouri to Stockton, California, via Albuquerque.

During the entire course of the Civil War the county was overrun by both Union and Confederate forces. Severe engagements were fought in and around Neosho, Newtonia, and Granby, some places repeatedly, while frequent skirmishes occurred between small groups and raids by predatory parties were a frequent occurrence. The schools were all closed during the war and most of the school buildings were destroyed.

The new courthouse was occupied by troops of both Union and Confederate troops during the war and was destroyed about 1862. The county records were later found intact in a cell in the jail where they were concealed by R.W. Ellis, the county clerk in 1861, before he departed to join the Confederate Army. On July 2, 1861, during the Civil War, the Neosho State Guards Captain Henderson Jennings assisted in the capture of Captain Conrad and a company of Colonel Sigel's Third Missouri Infantry Regiment which had recently occupied Neosho taking quarters in the courthouse.

General Sterling Price made an effort to reorganize a Confederate campaign in Missouri, but any chance for concerted pro-Southern action ended when he was defeated in March 1862 at Pea Ridge.

In the 1882, after the vineyards of France, Spain, and Portugal were struck by the deadly phylloxera louse, it was determined that grapes bred by Neosho winemaker Hermann Jaeger were resistant to the louse. His work proved to be a savior for the great vineyards of Europe. Working with other scholars and grape growers, Jaeger supplied cuttings from his Monark Springs vineyards to help replant those lost in Europe. For his contribution to the grape and wine industries of France, Jaeger was awarded the coveted French Legion of Honour, the highest award that that nation can bestow on a civilian.

Neosho is the home of Fort Crowder. Originally established as Camp Crowder south of town in 1941 at the height of World War II, the post was to serve as an armored training center. By 1943 the army had acquired 42,786.41 acres (173.151 km2) in Newton and McDonald counties. As the facility was constructed, it was re-designated as a U.S. Army Signal Corps training center. It was named for Enoch Crowder, a Missouri general who was instrumental in developing the draft for World War I and the Selective Service. The post also served as an infantry replacement center; later in the war, it had a small German prisoner-of-war detention facility.

Some of the soldiers stationed at Camp Crowder included Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, Mort Walker, Tillman Franks, and Jean Shepherd. Writers for the 1960s-era The Dick Van Dyke Show, made the post the setting where Rob and Laura Petrie, portrayed by actors Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, met; Rob was a sergeant in Special Services and Laura was a USO dancer.

The camp was well-known to its residents for being muddy and swampy during the rainy season. The cartoonist Mort Walker, who was stationed there, later used it for his fictional "Camp Swampy" in his long-running newspaper comic strip, Beetle Bailey.

Camp Crowder was deactivated in 1951. While the core of the post was retained, many of the temporary barracks were declared surplus and sold. The base's movie theatre was disassembled and reassembled on the campus of what is today the University of Missouri -- Kansas City. It served as the Kansas City Playhouse until being torn down for a new theatre. A portion of its wall, whihch contains statues of Comedy and Tragedy, are landmarks on the university campus. Neosho obtained the permanent barracks as surplus and adapted them as the core of the community college campus for Crowder College.

Since 1957, Neosho has been locally well-known as "The Flower Box City"; that year it earned the All-America City Award for its beautification efforts. In 1955 the town had received a $5,000 grant from the New York Community Trust for that purpose. Local companies provided lumber at cost, and the Jaycees formed an assembly line to build more than 200 wooden flower boxes. Pet Milk Company donated 400 used wooden barrels for container gardens, and town nurseries supplied plants at reduced rates. The city dressed up trash cans and parking meters around the courthouse square with flower baskets.

 In 1957 Neosho earned a coveted All-America City Award from Look magazine and the National Municipal League. (The Life magazine photojournalist Wallace Kirkland covered the 1957 city for the magazine. A life collection of his photographs from this assignment, many previously unpublished, can be found in the Life photo archive, hosted by Google). Since then, the Flower Box Promotion Committee has supported beautification and awarded 'Beauty Spot' prizes each spring and summer to homes and businesses with outstanding yards, flower gardens, and flower boxes.

In the early 1950s, local congressman Dewey Jackson Short, senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, secured authorization and some funding to build two permanent barracks and a disciplinary barracks to reactivate the former Camp Crowder as a permanent installation, Fort Crowder. Its mission was to be the Army's military police training school. After Short's defeat in the 1956 election, the fort was deactivated.

About 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of the post was turned over to the U. S. Air Force, which constructed Plant 65. The rocket engine manufacturing facility was operated by contract to North American Aviation, later known as Rocketdyne. This facility became Rocketdyne's primary manufacturing and testing complex for the H-1 rocket engine, used by the Saturn I and Saturn IB rockets. These rockets were used in NASA's Apollo, Skylab, and Apollo-Soyuz Test Project programs until its contract ended in 1968.

The Springs of Neosho

Neosho has many springs. Big Spring, Neosho's largest, is located near the historic downtown in the city's main park, Big Spring Park. This spring issues at the base of a high bluff of Mississippian limestone from a series of cavernous openings developed along a bedding plane, and flows through the city park. Many other springs can still be found throughout the city, including Bell's Iron Spring and Hobo Springs.

Bartholic,  Elm,  Hearrell, and McMahon Springs supply water to the Neosho National Fish Hatchery. Hearrell produces nearly the same volume of water as Big Spring. The combined flow of these four springs is about 2,000,000 gallons per day as it arrives at the hatchery.  While Hearrell Spring arises at the hatchery, water from the other springs is piped several miles by pipeline from their originas to the hatchery.

Bell's Iron Spring -- also known as Walbridge Spring, 900 feet (270 m) east of the Big Spring, rising in the valley and capable of supplying a city of 50,000 people.

Brock's Spring -- on the eastern line of Neosho.

Sevier's Springs -- two soft water springs just south of Brock's Spring.

Carter & Clark Springs -- in the northern part of town. Considered by early residents to have medicinal qualities.

Bethesda Spring -- in the northeast section. Historically notable for its purported healing properties. The water is always about 75 °F (24 °C), soft and clear.

Birch Spring -- a strong spring just south of the Bethesda Spring.

Merlin (or Mertin) Springs -- three springs north of the Bethesda spring, rushing from beneath the cliff and each producing a different water.

McElhany Springs -- forming a bold stream of freestone water in the western part of the town.

Hobo Spring -- also known as Williams Spring, west of downtown.

Neosho lies near the geographic center of the contiguous United States, in an area with a high concentration of freshwater streams and lakes. This makes for a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa) with moderate precipitation and extremes of hot and cold. Summers can be very humid, with moist air riding up from the Gulf of Mexico, and during July and August daytime highs can reach into the triple digits. Winters vary from mild days to bitterly cold, with lows reaching into the teens below zero a few times a year.

Neosho is situated in "Tornado Alley", a broad region where cold air from the Rocky Mountains and Canada collides with warm air from the Gulf of Mexico, leading to the formation of powerful storms. Neosho has had many severe outbreaks of tornados, including an EF4 tornado hit the Neosho area on May 10, 2008 and traveled about 80 miles (130 km) in 2 states, as well as a major tornado that caused massive destruction on April 24, 1975 with three killed, many injured. The region is also prone to ice storms, such as the 2007 ice storm during which hundreds of thousands lost power for days and (in some cases) weeks. The White House declared 34 counties in Missouri disaster areas. Damage in Missouri totaled $352.9 million (2007 USD).

Neosho, elevation 1,035 feet (315 m), is located in the extreme southwest corner of Missouri.

Cultural Institutions

·       Newton County Historical Society Museum

·       Longwell Museum

·       Thomas Hart Benton Collection

·       Neosho National Fish Hatchery -- oldest operating Federal Fish Hatchery

·       Big Spring Park

·       Morse Park

·       Bicentennial Park

Income & Housing Costs Numbers:

Estimated median household income in 2009: $34,264 (it was $31,225 in 2000)





Estimated per capita income in 2009: $16,652

Neosho city income, earnings, and wages data

Estimated median house or condo value in 2009: $89,740 (it was $64,700 in 2000)





Mean prices in 2009: All housing units: $106,738; Detached houses: $107,852; Townhouses or other attached units: $117,226; In 2-unit structures: $37,926; In 5-or-more-unit structures: $131,017; Mobile homes: $20,909

Median gross rent in 2009: $485.
Jan. 2011 cost of living index in Neosho: 83.6 (less than average, U.S. average is 100)

In-Depth Facts and Figures as listed below, plus other information:

·       Climate Charts

1.      Average Temperature

2.      Precipitation (Rain)

3.      Humidity

4.      Wind Speed (MPH)

5.      Snowfall

6.      Sunshine

7.      Cloudy Days

·       Tornado Activity History

·       Hospitals & Medical

·       Airports

·       Colleges/Universities

·       High Schools

·       Locations of Interest

·       Shopping Centers

·       Churches

·       Lakes/Streams/Rivers/Creeks/Parks

·       Tourist Attractions

·       Banks

·       Housing Costs Information

·       Crime Statistics

·       Radio Stations AM/FM

·       TV Broadcast Stations

·       Discussion Forums


For the above information and photos, click this link:


Total Tax Burden--Data for Calculation

Listing of Active Retirement Communities:


Silly Service--38 Years of Federal Civil Service (A book in progress, with weekly additions)

Gillis Motor News (Monthly Listing of Car Events Nationwide)


World of Collectibles



Bird Watching

Dance Sites

World of Antiques


Quilts, Quilters, & Quilting

EZ Rides
















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