Joplin, Missouri

Last updated

Joplin, Missouri
Aerial view of downtown Joplin, 2009. The bridge is 2nd Street and the intersection is 2nd St. and Virginia Ave.
Flag of Joplin, Missouri.jpg
"JoMo", "The J", "J-Town", and “Go Town USA”
"The City that Jack Built"
Joplin, Missouri
Location in the state of Missouri
Coordinates: 37°5′3″N94°30′47″W / 37.08417°N 94.51306°W / 37.08417; -94.51306 Coordinates: 37°5′3″N94°30′47″W / 37.08417°N 94.51306°W / 37.08417; -94.51306
CountryUnited States
State Missouri
Counties Jasper, Newton
Incorporated 1873
  MayorDoug Lawson
   City 38.21 sq mi (98.96 km2)
  Land38.08 sq mi (98.63 km2)
  Water0.13 sq mi (0.33 km2)
1,004 ft (306 m)
   City 51,762
  RankMO: 12th
  Density1,359.26/sq mi (524.82/km2)
210,077 (US: 135th)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code 417
FIPS code 29-37592 [2]
GNIS feature ID0729911 [3]
U.S. Routes US 71.svg
Interstates I-44 (MO).svg I-49 (MO).svg
Airports Joplin Regional Airport

Joplin is a city in Jasper and Newton counties in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Missouri. The bulk of the city is in Jasper County, while the southern portion is in Newton County. Joplin is the largest city located within both Jasper and Newton Counties - even though it is not the county seat of either county (Carthage is the seat of Jasper County while Neosho is the seat of Newton County). With a population of 51,762 as of the 2020 census, [4] Joplin is the 13th most-populous city in the state. The city covers an area of 35.69 square miles (92.41 km2) on the outer edge of the Ozark Mountains. Joplin is the main hub of the three-county Joplin-Miami, Missouri-Oklahoma Metro area, which is home to 210,077 people making it the 5th largest metropolitan area in Missouri. In May 2011, the city was hit by a violent EF5 tornado which destroyed one-third of the city.



19th century

Main Street, below 5th Street, circa 1910 Main Street, Looking South, Joplin, MO.jpg
Main Street, below 5th Street, circa 1910

Lead was discovered in the Joplin Creek Valley before the Civil War, but only after the war did significant development take place. By 1871, numerous mining camps sprang up in the valley and resident John C. Cox filed a plan for a city on the east side of the valley. [5] Cox named his village Joplin City after the spring and creek nearby, which had been named for the Reverend Harris G. Joplin, who settled upon its banks circa 1840. [6] [7]

Carthage resident Patrick Murphy filed a plan for a city on the opposite side of the valley and named it Murphysburg. [8] As the nearest sheriff was in Carthage, frontier lawlessness abounded in Joplin. The historic period was referred to as the "Reign of Terror". The cities eventually merged into Union City, but when the merger was found illegal, the cities split. Murphy suggested that a combined city be named Joplin. The cities merged again on March 23, 1873, this time permanently, as the City of Joplin. [9]

While Joplin was first settled for lead mining, zinc, often referred to as "jack", was the most important mineral resource. As railroads were built to connect Joplin to major markets in other cities, it was on the verge of dramatic growth. By the start of the 20th century, the city was becoming a regional metropolis. Construction centered around Main Street, with many bars, hotels, and fine homes nearby. Joplin's three-story "House of Lords" was its most famous saloon, with a bar and restaurant on the first floor, gambling on the second, and a brothel on the third. Trolley and rail lines made Joplin the hub of southwest Missouri. As the center of the "Tri-state district", it soon became the lead- and zinc-mining capital of the world.

As a result of extensive surface and deep mining, Joplin is dotted with open-pit mines and mineshafts. Mining left many tailings piles (small hills of ground rock), which are considered unsightly locally. The main part of Joplin is nearly 75% undermined, with some mine shafts well over 100 ft (30 m) deep. These shafts have occasionally caved in, creating sinkholes.

20th century

Joplin panorama.jpg
Panorama of Joplin, in 1910

Joplin began to add cultural amenities; in 1902, residents passed a tax to create a public library, and gained matching funds that enabled them to build the Carnegie Library. It was seen as the symbol of a thriving city. In 1930, the grand commercial Electric Theater was built, one of the many movie palaces of the time. It was later purchased and renamed the Fox by Fox Theatres corporation. With the Depression and post-World War II suburban development, moviegoing declined at such large venues.

On April 15, 1903, Joplin police officers, including Theodore Leslie, 36, were searching nearby rail yards for a Black man who had allegedly stolen pistols from a hardware store when Leslie noticed a man in one of the rail cars. Shots were fired, and Leslie, a father of four, was mortally wounded. Hundreds of men launched a search using bloodhounds. On April 16, a Black man with a weapon, Thomas Gilyard, was arrested, and while he told one of the men involved in the arrest that he had been in the box car, he said several others had been there and that one of them fired the fatal shot. Joplin City Attorney Perl Decker pleaded with the growing mob to break up, according to newspaper and other historical accounts, as did Mayor Thomas Cunningham, but the crowd soon stormed the jail and took Gilyard from his cell. He was lynched soon afterward. [10]

Bonnie and Clyde, photo developed by the Joplin Globe after the shootout Bonnieclyde f.jpg
Bonnie and Clyde, photo developed by the Joplin Globe after the shootout

In 1933 during the Great Depression, the notorious criminals Bonnie and Clyde spent some weeks in Joplin, where they robbed several area businesses. Tipped off by a neighbor, the Joplin Police Department attempted to apprehend the pair. Bonnie and Clyde escaped after killing Newton County Constable John Wesley Harryman and Joplin Police Detective Harry McGinnis; however, they were forced to leave most of their possessions behind, including a camera. [11] The Joplin Globe developed and printed the film, which showed now-legendary photos of Bonnie holding Clyde at mock gunpoint, and of Bonnie with her foot on a car fender, posed with a pistol in her hand and cigar in her mouth. The Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation nominated the house where the couple stayed, at 34th Street and Oak Ridge Drive, for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places on February 13, 2009.

After World War II, most of the mines were closed, and population growth leveled off. The main road through Joplin running east and west was designated as part of U.S. Route 66, which became famous as more Americans took to newly constructed highways. The roads provided improved access between cities, but they also drew off population to newer housing and eventually retail centers.

In the 1960s and 1970s, nearly 40 acres (16 ha) of the city's downtown were razed in an attempt at urban renewal, as population and businesses had moved to a suburban fringe along newly constructed highways. The Keystone Hotel and Worth Block (former home of the House of Lords) were notable historic structures that were demolished. Christman's Department Store stands (converted into loft apartments), as does the Joplin Union Depot, since railroad restructuring and the decline in passenger traffic led to its closure. Other notable historic structures in Joplin include the Carnegie Library, Fred and Red's Diner, the Frisco Depot, the Scottish Rite Cathedral, and the Crystal Cave (filled in and used for a parking lot). The Newman Mercantile Store has been adapted for use as City Hall. The Fox Theatre has been adapted for use as the Central Christian Center. [ citation needed ]

On May 5, 1971, Joplin was struck by a severe tornado, resulting in one death and 50 injuries, along with major damage to many houses and businesses. [12]

Historic district at 6th and Main, looking north, 2010 Joplin Downtown Historic District.jpg
Historic district at 6th and Main, looking north, 2010

On November 11, 1978, Joplin's once-stately Connor Hotel, which was slated for implosion to make way for a new public library, collapsed suddenly and prematurely. Two demolition workers were killed instantly. A third, Alfred Sommers, was trapped for four days, yet survived.

21st century

The city has two major hospitals which serve the Four States region, Freeman Health System and Mercy Hospital Joplin, the latter replacing St. John's Regional Medical Center which was destroyed in the May 22, 2011, tornado. Freeman Hospital East and Landmark Hospital serve more specialized community health needs. [13] The city's park system has nearly 1,000 acres (400 ha) and includes a golf course, three swimming pools, 15 miles (24 km) of walking/biking trails, the world's largest remaining globally unique Chert Glades and the Shoal Creek Nature Center located in Wildcat Park. A waterfall, Grand Falls, the highest continuously flowing in the state, is on Shoal Creek on the southern end of the city. Included in Schifferdecker Park is the Everett J. Ritchie Tri-State Mineral Museum and Dorothea B. Hoover Historical Museum, which holds a significant collection of minerals from the era of lead and zinc mining in the region.

Numerous buildings in Joplin have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for their historic and architectural significance. [14] The city has undertaken Agenda 21; a major project to revitalize its Main Street downtown district, which lies on the historic Route 66. It has refurbished building facades, sidewalks, and added old-styled lamp posts, flower baskets, and benches to highlight the historic center of the city. A gasoline-powered citywide trolley system evokes images of the city's vibrant past.

Numerous trucking lines such as CFI are headquartered in town, as the city is situated near the geographic and population centers of the nation. Eagle-Picher Industries, Tamko Building Products, AT&T Communications, and FAG Bearings are noted employers in Joplin, and Leggett & Platt (a Fortune 500) is located in nearby Carthage. The city is served by the Joplin Regional Airport located north of town near Webb City.

Since the 2011 tornado, the city continued to expand eastward toward I-44. Large-scale development occurred along Range Line Road, particularly around Northpark Mall. Numerous suburbs adjacent to the city include Carl Junction, Webb City, Duenweg, Duquesne, Airport Drive, Oronogo, Carterville, Redings Mill, Shoal Creek Drive, Leawood, and Saginaw.

Due to its location near two major highways and its few event and sports facilities, Joplin attracts travelers and is a destination for conferences and group events. Joplin offers nearly 500 hotel rooms, the majority located within a 1/4-mile area of Range Line Road and I-44. It has the 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) John Q. Hammons Convention and Trade Center, which serves as the primary event facility for conventions, associations, and large events.

Each June, Joplin hosts the Boomtown Run, a half marathon, 5K, and children's run. The event attracts runners from across the country, and features USTA certified courses which start and end in the historic downtown area. Celebrity runners featured at the prerace banquet have included Bart Yasso, Sarah Reinerston, Suzy Favor-Hamilton, and Jeff Galloway. In 2011, due to the devastating EF5 tornado that struck Joplin on May 22, just three weeks before the run, the event was transformed in the Boomtown Run Day of Service. About 270 individuals registered for the race after the tornado struck, knowing their proceeds would benefit tornado recovery. On June 11, about 270 registered runners and volunteers turned out to help clean debris and sort donations, contributing more than 1,200 hours of service. On August 7, 2012, the Village of Silver Creek and the City of Joplin voted to have Silver Creek annexed into Joplin City limits. [15]

2011 tornado

Aerial view of tornado damage Joplin 2011 tornado damage.jpg
Aerial view of tornado damage
President Barack Obama greets an 85-year-old tornado survivor in front of his house on May 29, 2011. Obama-joplin-missouri1.jpg
President Barack Obama greets an 85-year-old tornado survivor in front of his house on May 29, 2011.

On May 22, 2011, an EF5 tornado touched down near the western edge of the city among large, newer homes, about 5:21 pm CDT (22:34 UTC) and tracked eastward across the city and across Interstate 44 into rural portions of Newton County. Its track was reported to have been about 0.75 miles (1.21 km) in width and 22.1 miles (35.6 km) long. About 2,400 houses, 1,000 cars, and businesses were flattened or blown away in Joplin, particularly in the section between 13th and 32nd Streets across the southern part of the city. The tornado narrowly missed the downtown area.

St. John's Regional Medical Center was damaged, and demolished in 2012. The Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team temporarily replaced the demolished St. John's Regional Medical Center with a mobile hospital [16] until the permanent hospital was rebuilt. The local high school, Joplin High School, was totally destroyed, as well. A total of 161 people died from tornado-related injuries as of the end of July 2011. Communications were lost and power was knocked out to many areas. [17] An official statement from the National Weather Service has categorized the tornado as an EF5. [18] [19] [20] [21] On Sunday, May 29, President Barack Obama, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, and Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate visited and toured Joplin to see what the damage looked like and attended a memorial service for the deceased. Later that day, the city held a moment of silence at 5:41 pm, to mark the time the tornado struck. The area was declared a federal disaster area.

In July 2011, the City of Joplin entered into a contractual agreement with a master developer company, hired to assist in nearly $3 Billion in reconstruction efforts. Priority construction projects included residential districts and senior and assisted-living facilities; 7,500 residential dwellings in the city were damaged or destroyed by storm. The city council began receiving government funds for additional recovery projects intended to spur expansion and economic growth included the construction of a new and expanded public library and a senior center, among other city amenities of trails, sidewalks, transportation, and park enhancements. A variety of additional major projects were to follow, greatly enhancing and expanding all aspects of the community's development. City Manager Mark Rohr said, "This effort is the greatest opportunity the city has ever seen." Among other resources and support from governmental agencies, the Economic Development Administration provided $20 million to construct a new Joplin Library and a two-year funding agreement to hire a disaster recovery coordinator to help coordinate the city's nearly $850 million in immediate restoration and recovery efforts. [22]

In the summer of 2012, the United States Housing and Urban Development Department awarded a $45 million community development block grant for reconstruction efforts and in 2013 awarded another $113 million. [23] [24] In May 2013, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources awarded Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center $500,000 to help with the restoration of the urban forest, which was passed through to the City of Joplin as a subgrant; 1,500 large-calibre trees were planted in the tornado zone and along an urban stream, Joplin Creek. [25]

In May 2016, a summit was held under the name of "Joplin Disaster Recovery Summit". The summit's purpose was to tackle several issues and ensure that the recovery plans take place. [26] [27]

As of March 2018 the only project finished that was proposed in the recovery effort besides the hospital and schools was the new public library. Wallace-Bajjali was sued by a city they formerly contracted with and skipped town without fulfilling the contract made to refurbish Joplin.

Mercy Park was created at the site of the former hospital.


Butterfly Effect: Dreams Take Flight Mural on the Northwest corner of 15th and Main Street in Joplin, Mo Butterfly Effect- Dreams Take Flight Mural.jpg
Butterfly Effect: Dreams Take Flight Mural on the Northwest corner of 15th and Main Street in Joplin, Mo

After the May 22, 2011 tornado came through a number of unofficial murals and monuments popped up across the city showcasing the community's spirit to rebuild the city and come back stronger than before. These popups also showcased the beginning of an arts renaissance in Joplin which still can be seen throughout the city today. One of many monuments which popped up was the Rainbow Tree which can be found on 20th Street between Indiana Avenue and Illinois Avenue. The Rainbow Tree is a tree which was destroyed in the May 22, 2011 tornado that the community decorated with bird houses, bird feeders, colored paint, and a sign saying "Help Us Feed The Birds", which is not to be confused with the since fallen Spirit Tree. After the tornado butterflies became a major part of the artistic works in the city due to the stories of children seeing butterfly entities carrying people through the sky shortly after the tornado which spread across the community of Joplin. One of the first works in Joplin to incorporate Butterflies was the "Butterfly Effect: Dreams Take Flight" Mural which is located on the Northwest corner of 15th and Main Street. The piece was painted by Dave Loewenstein with the support of a 20 community member design team and more than 300 community volunteers. [28]

Joplin Rainbow Tree Joplin Rainbow Tree.jpg
Joplin Rainbow Tree

On March 15, 2018, the City of Joplin conducted an independent tourism study which covered the purpose of the study, evaluation process, competitive market summary, recommendations, and implementations. In the overview, the City states its strategic priorities for tourism which were improve the visitor experience, increase the number of visitors, capture visitor spending, and emphasize results-driven tourism marketing. The purpose of the study was to provide direction for Joplin to help define the focus for future tourism efforts. In the study the city mentions the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the tourism market in the region as well as recommendations to increase tourism in the city. One of the recommendations in the study was to develop a conference center with an incorporated or adjacent hotel which could accommodate groups up to 2,500 and include multi-use exhibit space, breakout rooms and the newest technology. Another recommendation was to enhance downtown by encouraging hotel development in downtown, supporting and promoting development of empire market and food culture, supporting development of an Arts & Entertainment complex, supporting efforts of Connect2Culture and the broader art community relating facilities and programs downtown, hosting a variety of special events downtown, promoting downtown as a location for dining, shopping and culture, and continuing Main Street and downtown core improvements. It is recommended that the first step for the CVB Board is to discuss and decide which of the recommendations they see as priorities and take these to City Council for their recommendation. Additionally, the CVB should start collecting visitor data, undertake Identity and Branding study (with the city as lead or in partnership with the city), work on increasing lodging tax, ear-marked for conference center use the Tourism Study as a roadmap for future decision-making. [29]

In September 2019, Joplin unveiled the Rotary Sculpture Garden in Mercy Park which is home to 9 new sculptures with more on the way. The project was a joint effort of Joplin Rotary Club and Joplin Daybreak Rotary Club and all the Sculptures were donated. One by Sharon and Lance Beshore, one by Barbara and Jim Hicklin, and seven by Harry M. Cornell Jr., an art collector and chairman emeritus of Leggett & Platt Inc. [30] On February 7, 2019, the Joplin Rotary Club donated over $9,800 which funded signage at the entrance of the walking paths in Mercy Park. [31] The sculpture garden represents a $200,000 investment by community members who looked for the works of art, bought them, and donated them for permanent display. [32]

The Ghost Light or Spooklight, a mysterious orb spotted by locals and tourists, is also located in the region around Joplin. [33]


Joplin is the center of what is regionally known as the Four State Area: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas. Joplin is located north of I-44, its passage to the west into Oklahoma. In recent years, the residential development of Joplin has spread north to Webb City. The historic now-decommissioned U.S. Route 66 passes through Joplin, as 7th Street.

The city is drained by Joplin, Turkey, Silver and Shoal creeks. [34]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 35.68 square miles (92.41 km2), of which 35.56 square miles (92.10 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.31 km2) is water. [35]


Roanoke, Arbor Hills, Blendville, Gateway Drive, Iron Gates, Eastmorland, Midway, Murphysburg, North Heights, Oak Pointe, Royal Heights, Silver Creek, Sunnyvale, Sunset Ridge, Westberry Square, and Cedar Ridge are among the many neighborhoods in Joplin.


Joplin has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa), as defined by the Köppen climate classification system, with cool, dry winters and hot, humid summers; the severe weather season from April through June is the wettest time of year. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 34.9 °F (1.6 °C) in January to 79.9 °F (26.6 °C) in July. [36] On average, 52.7 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs, 4.5 days of 100 °F (38 °C)+ highs, 12.5 days where the high fails to rise above freezing, and 1.1 nights of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) occur per year. [36] It has an average annual precipitation of 45.58 inches (1,160 mm), including an average 12.5 inches (32 cm) of snow. [36] [37] Extremes in temperature range from −21 °F (−29 °C) on February 13, 1905 up to 115 °F (46 °C) on July 14, 1954; the last −10 °F (−23 °C) or below and the last 110 °F (43 °C)+ reading occurred on February 3 and August 2, 2011, respectively. [38]

The city is located in Tornado Alley. Notable severe weather events in the past half-century include an F3 tornado in 1971; a tornado in 1973; an EF1 tornado on May 8, 2009; a blizzard on February 1, 2011; and an EF5 tornado on May 22, 2011.

Climate data for Joplin Regional Airport, Missouri (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1902–present)
Record high °F (°C)79
Average high °F (°C)44.8
Daily mean °F (°C)34.9
Average low °F (°C)25.0
Record low °F (°C)−12
Average precipitation inches (mm)1.92
Average snowfall inches (cm)4.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)7.76.710.111.012.510.
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)
Source: NOAA (snow 1981–2010) [38] [36] [37]


Historical population
1880 7,038
1890 9,94341.3%
1900 26,023161.7%
1910 32,07323.2%
1920 29,902−6.8%
1930 33,45411.9%
1940 37,14411.0%
1950 38,7114.2%
1960 38,9580.6%
1970 39,2560.8%
1980 39,126−0.3%
1990 40,9614.7%
2000 45,50411.1%
2010 50,15010.2%
2020 51,7623.2%
U.S. Decennial Census [39]
2018 Estimate [40]

As of 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $30,555, and for a family was $38,888. Males had a median income of $28,569 versus $20,665 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,738. About 10.5% of families and 14.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.8% of those under age 18 and 9.4% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, 50,150 people, 20,860 households, and 12,212 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,448.4 people per square mile (559.2/km2). The 23,322 housing units averaged 678.9 per square mile (262.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city is 87.6% White, 3.3% African American, 1.8% Native American, 1.6% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 1.7 from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 4.5% of the population.

Of the 20,860 households, 24.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.1% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.5% were not families; 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 25.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city, the population was distributed as 24.21% under the age of 19, 9.4% from 20 to 24, 25.12% from 25 to 44, 22.16% from 45 to 64, and 13.18% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.4 males.


Top employers

According to the city's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, [41] the top employers in the city are:

#Employer# of employees
1 Freeman Health System 4,500
2 Walmart 2,400
3 Mercy Hospital Joplin 1,538
4 Joplin School District 1,480
5Tri-State Motor Transit1,135
6Tamko Building Products1,000
7 Empire District Electric Company 896
8 Eagle-Picher 778
10City of Joplin585
11 CFI 567
12Ozark Center567
13 Missouri Southern State University 560
14 General Mills 490
15 AT&T Mobility 448
16Jasper Products399
17Teleperformance (Aegis Communications)350
18 Schaeffler Group 310
19 Bemis Company 275
20Hampshire Pet Products245


Local government for the City of Joplin is provided through a nine-member city council, whose members are elected by voters citywide, with four seats being assigned to designated geographic zones of the city. City council members include the city's mayor, who is responsible for serving as meeting chair and official spokesman for the city council; and the mayor pro tem, who is responsible for performing the mayor's duties in absence. Both positions are elected every two years by their fellow council members. [42]

Following the June 2020 city elections, the city council members include:

Law enforcement services are provided by the Joplin Police Department. [43] On the state-level, the city is represented in the Missouri House of Representatives by Republican Lane Roberts of the 161st District, although a small portion of the city lies within the 162nd District represented by Republican Bob Bromley and in the Missouri Senate by Republican Bill White. The city also lies within Missouri's 7th congressional district, currently represented by Billy Long (R-Springfield).


Primary and secondary education

Joplin is home to 11 public elementary schools in the Joplin R-VIII School District: Cecil Floyd, Columbia, Eastmorland, Irving, Jefferson, Kelsey Norman, McKinley, Royal Heights, Soaring Heights, Stapleton, and West Central. It has three public middle schools, East, North, and South, and one high school, Joplin High School. The first high school was founded in 1885 and was located at the intersection of West 4th Street and Byers Ave. [44] The JHS student population was nearly 2,200 children in the 2008–2009 school year. [45] A school bond issue for $57.4 million was passed in April 2007, allowing the district to build two new middle schools (East and South Middle Schools) to replace the old Memorial and South Middle schools, and to give a major renovation and double the size of North Middle School. [46] Joplin also has many private schools, such as College Heights Christian School, Martin Luther School, Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, Christ's Community Discovery School, and more. St. Mary's Catholic Elementary School, St. Peter's Middle School, and McAuley Catholic High School are private Catholic schools established in 1885.

Carnegie Library in Joplin, 2009 Joplin Carnegie Library.jpg
Carnegie Library in Joplin, 2009

Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled (MSSD) is a state operated program serving Missouri students with severe disabilities in the greater Joplin area at College View State School. [47]

Colleges and universities

The Joplin College of Physicians and Surgeons operated from 1880 to 1884. Today, Joplin is home to Missouri Southern State University, founded in 1937 as a junior college and expanded in the following decades. The one Bible college is Ozark Christian College. Messenger College also operated in Joplin until 2012 when the Pentecostal Church of God moved the campus to Euless, Texas that year. [48]

Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences announced in March 2015 its intention to establish a campus in Joplin with a large osteopathic medicine program, to be located in Mercy Hospital-Joplin's former long-term temporary location near the site of the destroyed St. John's Regional Medical Center. [49] In 2017, KCU took in their first class of future physicians at the Farber-McIntire Campus. The campus is nearly 20,000 square feet and includes a large lecture hall, learning studio and lab dedicated to osteopathic manipulative medicine courses. The school's simulation suite includes 24 standardized patient exam rooms and three simulation rooms featuring high-fidelity, programmable robots in fully equipped medical, surgical, obstetrical and trauma settings. Extended video conferencing capabilities connect the Joplin campus to the KC campus, allowing students, faculty and staff to share learning opportunities. KCU-Joplin also shares a partnership with Freeman Health Systems and Mercy Hospital Joplin. [50]

Joplin is also home to technical schools including Franklin Technology Center, [51] and WTI. [52]


Joplin is served by the Joplin Public Library. [53] In 2013, the Economic Development Administration awarded the city $20 million to relocate the dated library to a new facility along 20th Street, in the heart of the tornado area. In June 2017, the new 48,000 square foot state-of-the art library opened to the public. Costing nearly $20,000,000, the new facility has meeting and event rooms and spaces, an outdoor plaza and courtyard, children's, teen and adult book collection areas, and maker-spaces and equipment for creative arts and business innovators.


Joplin is served by the mainline of the Kansas City Southern (KCS) railroad, as well as by branchlines of the BNSF Railway and Missouri and Northern Arkansas Railroad (MNA). The city was once a beehive of railroad activity; however, many of the original railroad lines serving Joplin, such as the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad, [54] [55] were abandoned after the demise of the mining and industrial enterprises. The Missouri and North Arkansas had connected Joplin with Helena, Arkansas. Passenger trains have not served the city since the 1960s. The Joplin Union Depot is still intact along the KCS mainline, and efforts are underway to restore it. Despite the decline in some rail lines in and around Joplin during the past five decades, many of the original lines still remain. Aside from the former Frisco Railroad route from Joplin to Webb City and the Carthage to Wichita, Kansas, lines that have since been converted into bike/hike trails, most of the original routes still remain in place under the control of the BNSF, KCS, and M&NA railroad companies.

Interstate 44 connects Joplin with Springfield and St. Louis to the east and Tulsa and Oklahoma City to the west. U.S. Route 71 runs east of the city, connecting Joplin to Kansas City to the north and Fort Smith, Arkansas, to the south. The segment from Kansas City to Joplin was designated Interstate 49 on December 12, 2012. [56]

Range Line Road is the primary north and south commercial district with traffic approaching 25,000 vehicles daily. In 2022 the Range Line Road bridge over Kansas City Southern Railroad line was replaced and made taller and wider to accommodate growth. [57]

Previously, strong support existed for an extension of Interstate 66 along the current Interstate 44 alignment from St. Louis and extending along the U.S. 400 alignment to Wichita, Kansas, but, despite lobbying by both Missouri and Kansas, the project has been cancelled due to resistance farther east and west along the proposed extended alignment.

Joplin once boasted an extensive trolley and inter-urban rail system. Today, part of the city is served by the Sunshine Lamp Trolley, which commenced service in July 2007, and expanded to three routes in 2009.

In addition, the Joplin Regional Airport provides daily roundtrip flights to Denver international airport and Chicago-O'Hare International Airport operated by United express as United Airlines.

Notable people

1890 Schifferdecker Home in Joplin, 2010 Schifferdecker Home.jpg
1890 Schifferdecker Home in Joplin, 2010
Scottish Rite Cathedral in Joplin, 2010 Scottish Rite Cathedral in Joplin.jpg
Scottish Rite Cathedral in Joplin, 2010
Historic district at 5th and Main in Joplin, 2010 Joplin-historic-district.jpg
Historic district at 5th and Main in Joplin, 2010

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jasper County, Missouri</span> County in Missouri, United States

Jasper County is located in the southwest portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2020 census, the population was 122,761. Its county seat is Carthage, and its largest city is Joplin. The county was organized in 1841 and named for William Jasper, a hero of the American Revolutionary War.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Greensburg, Kansas</span> City in Kiowa County, Kansas

Greensburg is a city in, and the county seat of, Kiowa County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2020 United States census, the population of the city was 740. It is home to the world's largest hand-dug well. On the evening of May 4, 2007, Greensburg was devastated by an EF5 tornado that leveled at least 95 percent of the city and killing eleven people between the ages of 46 and 84. Today, Greensburg stands as a model "green town", often described as the greenest in America. The hospital, city hall, and school have all been built to the highest certification level issued by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Parsons, Kansas</span> City in Labette County, Kansas

Parsons is a city in Labette County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population of the city was 9,600. It is the most populous city of Labette County, and the second-most populous city in the southeastern region of Kansas. It is home to Labette Community College and the Parsons State Hospital & Training Center.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Neosho, Missouri</span> City in Missouri, United States

Neosho is the most populous city in Newton County, Missouri, United States, which it serves as the county seat. With a population of 12,590 as of the 2020 census, the city is a part of the Joplin, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area, a region with an estimated 176,849 (2011) residents. Neosho lies on the western edge of the Ozarks, in the far southwest of the state.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sedalia, Missouri</span> City in Missouri, United States

Sedalia is a city located approximately 30 miles south of the Missouri River and, as the county seat of Pettis County, Missouri, United States, it is the principal city of the Sedalia Micropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 21,387. Sedalia is also the location of the Missouri State Fair and the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival. U.S. Routes 50 and 65 intersect in the city.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Picher, Oklahoma</span> Ghost town in Oklahoma, United States

Picher is a ghost town and former city in Ottawa County, northeastern Oklahoma, United States. It was a major national center of lead and zinc mining for more than 100 years in the heart of the Tri-State Mining District.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Monett, Missouri</span> City in Missouri, United States

Monett is the most-populous city in the Barry and Lawrence counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. The city is located in the Ozarks, just south of Interstate 44 between Joplin and Springfield. According to the 2020 census, the population of the town was estimated to be 9,576 individuals.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Springfield, Missouri</span> City in Missouri, United States

Springfield is the third largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and the county seat of Greene County. As of the 2020 census, the city's population was 169,176. It is the principal city of the Springfield metropolitan area, which has an estimated 2021 population of 481,483 and includes the counties of Christian, Dallas, Greene, Polk, and Webster, and is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the state of Missouri.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Branson, Missouri</span> City in Missouri, United States

Branson is a city in the U.S. state of Missouri. Most of the city is situated in Taney County, with a small portion in the west extending into Stone County. Branson is in the Ozark Mountains. The community was named after Reuben Branson, postmaster and operator of a general store in the area in the 1880s. The population was 12,638 at the 2020 census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kansas City metropolitan area</span> Metropolitan statistical area in the United States

The Kansas City metropolitan area is a bi-state metropolitan area anchored by Kansas City, Missouri. Its 14 counties straddle the border between the U.S. states of Missouri and Kansas. With 8,472 square miles (21,940 km2) and a population of more than 2.2 million people, it is the second-largest metropolitan area centered in Missouri and is the largest metropolitan area in Kansas, though Wichita is the largest metropolitan area centered in Kansas. Alongside Kansas City, Missouri, these are the suburbs with populations above 100,000: Overland Park, Kansas; Kansas City, Kansas; Olathe, Kansas; Independence, Missouri; and Lee's Summit, Missouri.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Missouri Route 66</span>

Route 66 is a fourteen-mile (21 km) long road in southwest Missouri, USA, which had previously been U.S. Route 66 for its final six years. The highway begins at Interstate 44, passes through Duenweg, Duquesne, and Joplin, then crosses into Kansas becoming K-66.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Missouri and Northern Arkansas Railroad</span> Class III shortline railroad in Missouri

The Missouri and Northern Arkansas Railroad, LLC is a Class III shortline railroad headquartered in Carthage, Missouri. It is not to be confused with the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad which connected Joplin, Missouri with Helena, Arkansas from 1906 to 1946.

Mercy Hospital Joplin, formerly known as St. John's Regional Medical Center, is a hospital in Joplin, Missouri, USA. The hospital is famous for suffering devastating damage in the 2011 Joplin tornado. The original storm-ravaged building was demolished in 2013. Following a succession of temporary structures, the hospital reopened in a new location in 2015.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">May 2009 Southern Midwest derecho</span> 2009 derecho striking the Southern Midwest of the USA

The May 2009 Southern Midwest Derecho was an extreme progressive derecho and mesoscale convective vortex (MCV) event that struck southeastern Kansas, southern Missouri, and southwestern Illinois on May 8, 2009. Thirty-nine tornadoes, including two of EF3 strength on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, were reported in addition to high non-tornadic winds associated with the derecho and MCV. Due to the abnormal shape of the storm on radar and the extremely strong winds, many called this an "inland hurricane." A new class of storm, the Super Derecho, has been used to describe this event after analysis in 2010. Embedded supercells produced hail up to baseball size in southern Missouri, a rare event in a derecho. A wind gust of 106 mph (171 km/h) was recorded by a backup anemometer at the Southern Illinois Airport after official National Weather Service equipment failed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tornadoes of 2010</span>

This page documents the tornadoes and tornado outbreaks of 2010. The majority of tornadoes form in the U.S., but they can occur almost anywhere under the right conditions. A lesser number occur outside the U.S., most notably in parts of neighboring southern Canada during the Northern Hemisphere's summer season, but are also known in South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tornadoes of 2011</span>

This page documents the tornadoes and tornado outbreaks of 2011. Extremely destructive tornadoes form most frequently in the United States, Bangladesh, Brazil and Eastern India, but they can occur almost anywhere under the right conditions. Tornadoes also appear regularly in neighboring southern Canada during the Northern Hemisphere's summer season, and somewhat regularly in Europe, Asia, and Australia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tornado outbreak sequence of May 21–26, 2011</span>

The tornado outbreak sequence of May 21–26, 2011 was one of the largest tornado outbreaks on record which affected the Midwestern and Southern regions of the United States. Most of the tornadoes developed in a corridor from Lake Superior southwest to central Texas; isolated tornadoes occurred in other areas. An especially destructive tornado destroyed one-third of Joplin, Missouri, resulting in 158 deaths and over 1,000 injuries. The Joplin tornado is the deadliest in the U.S. since April 9, 1947, when an intense tornado killed 181 in the Woodward, Oklahoma area. Tornado-related deaths also occurred in Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, and Oklahoma. Overall, the tornado outbreak resulted in 184 deaths, 3 of those non-tornadic, making it second only to the 2011 Super Outbreak as the deadliest since 1974, and the second costliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history behind that same April 2011 outbreak, with insured damage estimated at $4–7 billion.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2011 Joplin tornado</span> EF-5 tornado that destroyed large swaths of the city of Joplin, Missouri, US

A devastating EF5-rated multiple-vortex tornado struck Joplin, Missouri on the evening of Sunday, May 22, 2011. Part of a larger late-May tornado outbreak, the tornado reached a maximum width of nearly one mile (1.6 km) during its path through the southern part of the city. This particular tornado was unusual in that it intensified and grew in size at a very fast rate. The tornado tracked eastward across the city, and then continued eastward across Interstate 44 into rural portions of Jasper and Newton counties. It was the third tornado to strike Joplin since May 1971.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">2013 Moore tornado</span> 2013 severe weather incident

On the afternoon of May 20, 2013, a large and extremely violent EF5 tornado ravaged through Moore, Oklahoma, and adjacent areas, with peak winds estimated at 210 mph (340 km/h), killing 24 people and injuring 212 others. The tornado was part of a larger weather system that had produced several other tornadoes across the Great Plains over the previous two days, including five that struck portions of Central Oklahoma the day prior on May 19.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tornado outbreak sequence of May 2019</span> Severe weather event

The tornado outbreak sequence of May 2019 was a prolonged series of destructive tornadoes and tornado outbreaks affecting the United States over the course of nearly two weeks, producing a total of nearly 400 tornadoes, including 51 significant events (EF2+). Eighteen of these were EF3 tornadoes, spanning over multiple states, including Nebraska, Kansas, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio, with additional tornadoes confirmed across a region extending from California to New Jersey. Two EF4 tornadoes occurred, one in Dayton, Ohio, and the other in Linwood, Kansas. Four tornadoes during this outbreak were fatal, causing a total of eight fatalities. The deadliest of these occurred on May 22 near Golden City, Missouri, where an EF3 tornado took three lives, including an elderly couple in their eighties. The damaging series of tornadoes that occurred in Indiana and Ohio on the evening of May 27 during this event is sometimes locally referred to as the Memorial Day tornado outbreak of 2019.


  1. "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 28, 2022.
  2. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. "QuickFacts Joplin City, Missouri". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  5. Dolph Shaner, The Story of Joplin (New York City: Stratford House, 1948), 20.
  6. Eaton, David Wolfe (1916). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. pp.  179.
  7. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp.  171.
  8. Shaner, Joplin, 21.
  9. Shaner, Joplin, 31 – 33.
  10. "Truth and reconciliation sought as Joplin lynching recalled". Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  11. "Court TV, CrimeLab website, page on Bonnie and Clyde". Archived from the original on December 22, 2008. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  12. "Joplin Tornado". Joplin Public Library. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  13. Witte, Griff (July 4, 2020). "A small Missouri city thought it had dodged the coronavirus. Now, it's hitting home". Washington Post. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  14. "Historic Preservation Commission is revitalized". Joplin Independent. January 5, 2006. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  15. "Boundary Changes". Archived from the original on August 18, 2017.
  16. "Missouri DMAT Mobilizes BLU-MED Hospital to Joplin" (June 1, 2011). BLU-MED. Retrieved on May 21, 2014
  17. "Powerful tornadoes kill at least 31 in U.S. Midwest". Reuters. May 22, 2011. Retrieved May 22, 2011.
  18. Unattributed (May 23, 2011). "Five families rescued, 158 dead in Joplin". United Press International. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
  19. "Tornado Strikes Joplin; major damage reported". May 23, 2011. Archived from the original on May 25, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  20. "Joplin tornado death toll jumps to 89; The Wichita Eagle; May 22, 2011". May 23, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  21. the CNN Wire Staff (May 23, 2011). "116 dead in from tornado in Joplin, Missouri; number expected to rise". CNN. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  22. KSN
  23. Woodin, Debby. "City outlines plan for CDBG funds". Joplin Globe. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  24. Woodin, Debby. "Proposed spending of second round of CDBG funds spans many sectors". Joplin Globe. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  25., Wally. "1,500 trees being planted from Campbell Parkway to Landreth Park". Joplin Globe. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  26. Carma Hassan, Faith Karimi and Ralph Ellis. "Joplin, Missouri, tornado: 5 years later". CNN. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  27. "Joplin Disaster Recovery Summit" (PDF). 2016.
  28. "Butterfly Effect: Dreams Take Flight Mural".
  29. "Joplin-Independent-Tourism-Study-Final-Report-3-15-2018".
  30. "Our View: Take a walk to enjoy new Rotary Sculpture Garden". The Joplin Globe. September 21, 2019. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  31. "joplin-rotarians-donate-to-sculpture-garden". KZRG News Talk.
  32. "mercy-park-unveils-rotary-sculpture-garden".
  33. Fleury, Larry (October 20, 2020). "The Spook Light: This Creepy, Glowing Orb Might Give You Nightmares". Farmers' Almanac. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  34. Missouri Atlas & Gazetteer, DeLorme, 1st ed., 1998, p. 60 ISBN   0899332242
  35. "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  36. 1 2 3 4 "Station: Joplin Regional Airport, MO". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  37. 1 2 "Station: Joplin Regional Airport, MO". U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1981-2010). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  38. 1 2 "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  39. United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing" . Retrieved July 10, 2013.
  40. "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  41. "Joplin 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" . Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  42. "Joplin, MO - Official Website - City Council". Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  43. "Joplin, MO – Official Website – Police Department". May 22, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  44. "". Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  45. Joplin Schools Website, School Information Archived March 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  46. Joplin Schools Website, New Middle School Plan Approved by Voters Archived March 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  47. Strange, Lainie (March 3, 2014). "Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled". Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  48. "messenger-college". messenger-college. Archived from the original on June 5, 2016. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  49. Associated Press (March 15, 2015). "Kansas City University to open new medical school in Joplin". The Washington Times. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  50. "Making more dreams come true – KCU-Joplin". Kansas City University Joplin. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  51. "Franklin Technology Center Adult Education" . Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  52. "About WTI" . Retrieved July 4, 2020.
  53. "Missouri Public Libraries". Archived from the original on June 10, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  54. Not to be confused with the Missouri and Northern Arkansas Railroad
  55. "H. Glenn Mosenthin, "Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad"". Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  56. "I-49 Press Kit" (PDF). Retrieved December 12, 2012.
  57. "Range Line Road/Kansas City Southern Railroad Bridge Replacement | Missouri Department of Transportation".
  58. "Hale Irwin Biography". Hale Irwin Official Website. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  59. Henry, Jim (June 15, 2015). "Joplin native Jack Jewsbury playing 13th season in Major League Soccer". The Joplin Grove. The Joplin Globe. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  60. "Elva Miller on Dana Country Man". Dana Country Man. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  61. "Lisa Myers: IMDB". IMDb; Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  62. "Pattiann Rogers". Poet Out Loud. Retrieved August 9, 2021.
  63. Pemberton, Mary (April 9, 2009). "Journalist William J. Tobin dies at age 81". Seattle Times . Associated Press. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
  64. "Dennis Weaver". Missouri Legends. Retrieved August 9, 2021.