These postcard images show the development of Joplin from a scattering of rough mining camps through the mid-point of 20th Century. They provide an indelible image of a city that grew virtually overnight to become the world’s premier supplier of lead and zinc ore. Because of these raw materials, the city also became a transportation hub and still retains the title of The Crossroads of America. In addition to pictures of mines and miners, there are images of Joplin’s extravagantly landscaped parks and public recreation areas as well as souvenir postcards of the little motels and motor courts that sprang up along the path of America’s most famous highway, Route 66. Joplin’s place as the social mecca for the soldiers training at Camp Crowder during World War II (Beetle Bailey’s literal home) is documented in postcards showing the U.S.O. club and other social and recreational venues. Joplin’s grandiose hotels, theaters, and apartment buildings are shown in their glory days.

Without descriptions to give them substance, however, the images would exist in a vacuum, and the Library’s deepest gratitude goes to Leslie Simpson, the director of the Post Art Library. Leslie spent a year and a half researching and writing the narratives that accompany each postcard, and everyone who uses this site even casually will be impressed by the quality of Leslie’s work and the huge amount of information she has provided for all of us.

The postcards were selected primarily from the collections of the Joplin Public Library, with additional cards from the Joplin Museum Complex and the Post Art Library. After starting work on the project, the Library was given the digitization rights to two very large private collections belonging to Rodney Blaukat and Galen Augustus. Bettie Mueller, John Durbin, Jim Krudwig and Jack McMullen also contributed several cards. The generosity of these private collectors has made this project truly amazing in scope and we are most grateful to them. We hope you enjoy this trip through Joplin’s history as presented in postcard form.

Topic Index

Advertising and Marketing
Business and Industry
Cemeteries and Funeral Homes
City and County Government
Downtown Joplin
Downtown Joplin – bird’s eye views
Golf Courses
Hospitals and Orphanages
Hotels & Motels
Libraries and Museums
Residences and Residential Streets
Restaurants and Bars
Social Organizations
State and Federal Government
Streams and Rivers
Swimming Pools
Tourist Attractions
Universities and Colleges
Utilities (Public Services)

Subject Index

Academy of Our Lady of Mercy
Alba Thomas House
Alderson’s Livery and Stable
Alfred Rogers House
American Laundry Company
Baptist Unity Church
Barbee Park
Barber Shop
Bob Cummings Motor Hotel
Bob Miller’s Restaurant
Brand-Dunwoody Flour Mill
Broadway Building
Byers Avenue Methodist Church
Castle Kourt Motel
Castle Rock
Central Christian Church
Central School
Charles Schifferdecker House
Chat Piles
Children’s Home
Christman Building
Church of Christ, Scientist
Clarketon Hotel
Club Theatre
Coats Tire and Battery Company
Coca-Cola Bottling Company
Colony Inn
Columbia School
Connor Hotel
Corral Motel
Crystal Cave
Cunningham Park
Dick and John’s Bar
Dutch’s Top Hat Cocktail Lounge
East 7th Street Kourts Motel
East Joplin Congregational Church
Electricity in the Mine
Elk’s Lodge
Elms Motel
Federal Building
Fenix Court
Fifth Street
First Baptist Church
First Christian Church
First Congregational Church
First Methodist Church
First National Bank
First Presbyterian Church
Fleischaker’s Stores
Forney Hotel
Fourth Street
Freeman Hospital
Frisco Building
G.W. Keller House
Gottfried & McMillan’s Music Store
Grand Falls
Great Western Clothing House
Greentop Roller Rink
Grocery Store
Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn Ballroom
Horse Thief Postcard
Hydroelectric dams
Interstate 44
Jasper County Courthouse (Joplin)
Jefferson School
John Wise House
John’s Bar
Joplin Business College
Joplin Carnegie Library
Joplin City Hall
Joplin Fire Department
Joplin High School
Joplin Mineral Museum
Joplin Municipal Airport
Joplin Municipal Building
Joplin Overall Company
Joplin Souvenir Postcards
Joplin Street
Joplin Supply Company
Joplin Tourist Bureau
Joplin Water Works
Junge Bakery
Junge Park
Junge Stadium
Kansas City Southern Railroad
Keller Wagon Factory
Ken’s Bar
Keystone Hotel
Ko Ko Motel
Koronado Kourts Motel
Lakeside Park
Landreth Park
Last Mine
Life Underground
Little King’s Hotel Court
Log City
Low Water Bridge
Mack’s Drive-in
Madison Motel
Main Street
Mason Mortuary
Meeker Company
Memorial Hall
Methodist Episcopal Church, South
Milligan Sheet Metal & Heating Company
Mine Names
Mineral Park
Miners’ Bank
Miners Baseball Park
Mining History
Mining Jobs on the Surface
Mining Jobs Underground
Mining Workforce
Missouri Southern State College
Moffet Avenue
Mount Hope Cemetery
Naylor’s Tailoring and Dressmaking
Newman Building
North Main Street Bathing Pool
Norton Garage
Novelty Cards
Oak Hill Golf Club
Oakland Christian Church
Oliver Picher House
Olivia Apartments
Oronogo Circle Mine
Ozark Bible College
Patrick Murphy House
Plaza Motel
Ramada Inn
Rancho Motel
Reding’s Mill
Reding’s Mill Swimming Pool
Riviera Motel
Robertson Apartments
Rocket Motel
Roy’s Bar-B-Q
Sagmount Resort
Sagmount Swimming Pool
Sands Inn
Schifferdecker Electric Park
Schifferdecker Golf Course
Schifferdecker Swimming Pool
Scottish Rite Cathedral
Second Baptist Church
Sergeant Avenue
Shoal Creek
Shubert Theatre
Sigars Ox Team
Snapp’s Carnival
South Joplin Christian Church
Spiva Park
Spring River Country Club
St. John’s Hospital
St. Peter’s Catholic Church
St. Philip’s Episcopal Church
Star Laundry
Star Tourist Camp
Sunday School card
Third Street Viaduct
Thornhill-Dillon Mortuary
Thunderbird Motel
Tivoli Courts
Trolley cars
Twin Oaks Court
U.S.O Club
Union Bus Depot
Union Depot
Van’s Court / Villa Motel
Wilder’s Restaurant
WMBH Radio
Yellow Dog Mine

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.