Images from the 1943 Joplin Flood

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.

What If: Main Street Looking North

We engaged in another “What if….” this time looking up Main Street from the south.

What if...

The Keystone Hotel – Before and After

As you drive north up Main Street and come toward the intersection of 4th and Main Street, you may find yourself blinking from the sun in your eyes.  The sun is there because the tall and towered Keystone Hotel is not.  Below is a photograph of the Keystone (which was built prior to the turn of the century – HJ will be writing up a post on the hotel later) from before 1913.

Keystone Hotel circa 1913

The Keystone Hotel at the busy intersection of 4th and Main Street

And here is today’s occupant of the same bit of earth.  We suppose it’s a step up from simply being a parking lot.

SE corner of 4th and Main Street

The new occupant of the southeast corner at 4th and Main Street

The Keystone Hotel was demolished in the late 1960’s under the “progressive” wave of urban renewal.  Joplin has lost too many of its historic buildings to allow anymore to follow a similar path.

Globe Article Covers the Closing of Howsmon’s

Last Friday, the Joplin Globe covered the shuttering of Howsmon’s Office Supply and Furniture Company, a 47 year old business.  As the article notes, Howsmon’s began with the purchase of Spurgeon’s Bookstore, which originally was Osterloh’s Bookstore that had opened in 1890.  Osterloh, in addition to selling books, was also an avid photographer and is responsible for a number of early Joplin photographs.  While Howsmon’s didn’t remain in the original building for long, Osterloh’s bookstore was located on the 300 block just a few yards north of its towering neighbor, the Connor Hotel.  Below is a photograph capturing a busy day in front of the bookstore:

Osterloh's Bookstore

Osterloh's larger sign, obstructed by its neighboring theater's sign, advertised book and office supplies. The structure two buildings down is the Connor Hotel, dating this photograph after 1908.

Source: The Joplin Globe