Belden Memoirs

The Belden Electric Company was founded by Charles Belden at the dawn of the electric age. His son Bud wrote this colorful memoir shortly after Charles Belden’s death, and it still stands as one of the most delightfully readable of all of the Joplin histories.

Bud Belden writes of the electrical industry, of course, of wiring houses and businesses and the immense Schifferdecker Electric Park, but he also tells the story of his family – of particular interest is the tale of his parents’ often stormy courtship. Because the Beldens knew almost everyone in town, Bud’s memoir includes scores of anecdotes about Joplin’s citizens. There are baseball stories galore, including a tear-jerker about a failed practical joke that Bud long regretted pulling on a visiting team.

Bud writes happily of his adventures backstage at Joplin’s various theaters, of what he learned from the colorful characters who ran many of Joplin’s bars and taverns, of his various close encounters with disaster or death on the job. Bud believed firmly that life was meant to be enjoyed, and that liveliness, coupled with his keen observation of the human condition, make this little booklet a genuine pleasure to read.

This project has been made possible by a Library Services and Technology Grant administered by the Missouri State Library, a division of the office of the Missouri Secretary of State.