That Froggy In the Window

Window shopping in early Joplin was undoubtedly entertaining. The Model clothing shop, Christman’s and Newman’s Department stores, T.W. Osterloh’s bookstore and bicycle shop, just to name a few, offered passersby a tantalizing look at shiny, new goods.


A common bullfrog

The Saddle Rock Café, however, had perhaps the most mesmerizing display in the summer of 1905 when owner Dick Lapham put seven dozen bullfrogs in a water-filled zinc tank in the front window of the café. Pedestrians on Main Street stopped to gawk at the sight. For those in the mood for frog legs, they could choose their own from the tank to be prepared by the café staff. Lapham told a News-Herald reporter that he caught them six miles south of Joplin on Shoal Creek.

Conservation laws aside, it might seem unusual to hear that someone had caught that many bullfrogs today, but it was not uncommon for the Ozarks to send sack loads of bullfrogs to distant cities like St. Louis to fill the ravenous demand of city dwellers. For those in Joplin, though, all they had to do is mosey down Main Street.

Source: News Herald