In the midst of the Second World War, Joplin was inundated with soldiers from nearby Camp Crowder, a war driven demand for lead and zinc, and approximately 10 inches of rain within 36 hours in 1943. The 1943 flood affected most of Joplin with the area of “Main and Joplin streets from Fifth to Sixth streets” suffering the worse damage in the business district. The May flood was described by the Joplin Globe, “One man was missing and believed drowned, hundreds of families were temporarily homeless, whole communities were isolated. Joplin’s water system was menaced, and thousands of acres of land were inundated last night as the most devastating floods this district ever experienced swirled over southwest Missouri and the Tri-State district in the wake of unprecedented rains.”
Below are two photos of Joplin at the time of the flood, click on either image for a larger version.
From the collection of Sammy Lucille Caldwell, courtesy of Dan Bell
From the collection of Sammy Lucille Caldwell, courtesy of Dan Bell
Thank you to Dan Bell for sharing the photographs with Historic Joplin! We invite anyone to share scans of their Joplin photos, documents, or other items with us and we will be glad to share them on Historic Joplin with others interested in the city’s fascinating history.
Brown, May 10th 2015 |
General Spook of Goblin-land ordered his army to invade the city of Joplin last night and the order was carried out to the letter,” the Globe cheerily reported the morning after Halloween.
“Everyone was out – young and old. Motor cars heavily laden with masqueraders raced up and down Main Street, causing traffic jams at times, which gave police officers not little concern. Horns were brought into play by children. In the various sections of the city an occasional revolver shot was heard and drivers of motor cars on Main Street added to the fun with blasts from the exhaust pipe of the vehicles.”
Dances were held at the Connor Hotel and Erickson’s Dancing Academy. Even the Joplin Children’s Home provided Halloween festivities for its residents, allowing the seventy-five children who lived there to invite a friend to the home to enjoy refreshments and play games.
The streets of Joplin swarmed with children decked out in a variety of costumes. Rudolph Valentino was a popular choice as was the “negro mammy, whose picture has adorned the packages of pancake flour.” The Globe observed, “Many girls became boys, while the boy got his one opportunity to strut the streets as a girl.” For all of the innocent youth seeking a treat, it seemed that there were even more intent on carrying out tricks.
Joplin police received more than thirty phone calls to break up gangs of delinquents destroying or removing property. The activity was concentrated in an area west of Main Street, between Fourth and Twentieth streets, though other neighborhoods were also vandalized. Pranksters placed “all sorts of objects” in the streets to stop traffic and a gang of rock throwers made a nuisance of themselves. Finding wooden fences too easy to tear down, one group of hoodlums tried to demolish a stone fence in North Joplin. Windows were soaped in residential and business districts. Despite all of the damage, no one was arrested, most likely because Joplin was home to “many potential champion sprinters.”
Brown, October 31st 2013 |
Who says reading old newspapers is a bore? Here’s an interesting quote from a 1882 Joplin paper:
“The first name on the register of the new calaboose was Jennie Hanford, a savagerous siren of sin, who in winding up a night’s debauch made a raid on the News office early Wednesday morning, having taken it for a saloon, and was about to jerk the hind sight off the [printer’s] devil because he was unable to furnish a whisky straight on order. There is no telling what would have been the fate of the innocent young rooster had not Officer Sackett interposed and placed the wandering wanton under lock and key.”
Brown, November 6th 2012 |
A sketch of one of Joplin's early car accidents.
“Great Excitement prevailed for a time, but this soon subsided…” In 1906, automobiles were still a new and intriguing sight on the streets of Joplin. The motorized fire engines were still a dream and the road mainly belonged to horse drawn buggies, wagons and trolleys. Thus, it was still quite a newsworthy event when one of the new machines accidentally plowed through the front of A.C. Webb’s automobile establishment at 2nd and Joplin street. A Joplin paper described the event:
“The automobile has always been noted for its liability to do things, but this characteristic was fully demonstrated yesterday afternoon when a runabout of this make crashed…tearing down a large portion of the building, breaking the glass in both windows and doors and not injuring the machine in the least.”
The unfortunate driver was Gus Mattes who had attempted to drive the vehicle into Webb’s shop but instead failed to slow down and completely missed the entrance, but did not miss the brick wall (“with great force.”) Surprisingly, despite the fact that Webb’s shop had suffered damage described alternatively as “demolished” and “splintered” the actual automobile received only a “crack in the glass of one of the lamps.” Before the day was done, the shop was already under repair, and undoubtedly, Mr. Mattes’ vehicle as well.
Incidentally, A.C. Webb’s shop was only a few blocks away from the Joplin Fire Department. When Joplin firemen responded to a fire a couple years later behind a steering wheel, its creator was Webb.
Brown, June 21st 2012 |
Historic Joplin hopes everyone has a great Easter weekend. Below is an ad celebrating Easter from 1905 Joplin.
Brown, April 8th 2012 |
A photograph of the comet in 1910 via Wikipedia.
The year 1910 witnessed the passing of one of America’s greatest authors and one of the galaxy’s most famous celestial events. Missourian and celebrated author Mark Twain was born in 1835, the same year that Halley’s Comet made an appearance, and by sheer coincidence, he died shortly after the comet graced the heavens once again in 1910. The comet’s brief appearance sparked interested across the world and Joplinites took note.
The comet, which only returns every 75 to 76 years, was quite the big deal and Joplinites were not going to miss out on enjoying it. Invitations were sent to friends and family that stated, “You are cordially invited to attend a Halley comet party which will be held on the roof of our home tomorrow morning at 3:30 o’clock,” or so the Joplin Daily Globe claimed in the May of 1910 in its coverage of the once in a lifetime event. The same article noted that comet gazers had an extra treat in the presence of a spectacular Venus, the “celestial celebrity.” The paper claimed hundreds of Joplin residents were awake for the opportunity to see the visitor, which became visible around 3:45 am and grew brighter over the next thirty minutes. The Halley’s Comet parties were, the headline proclaimed, “the Latest and Most Popular Functions.”
The last time Halley’s Comet visited Joplin, as well the rest of the planet, was 1986. For those who missed it they will have to wait until 2061.
Brown, January 8th 2012 |