July 1871 - Joplin came to life when several persistent miners began to gouge the subsurface of the earth, looking for profitable ores. With the several strikes of lead and zinc along a small creek, the area began booming. John C. Cox laid out a town east of the little creek and named the town and the waterway Joplin in honor of his friend, the Reverend Harris G. Joplin. Joplin had come to the area years earlier to minister to settlers and Native Americans around southwest Missouri.
While the early strikes looked promising and fueled growth of the fledgling community, the true extent of the ore was stunning. More than 500 million tons of ore were processed from this area throughout a 75-year period. This area led the world in production of lead and zinc concentrates. Joplin was fortunate to be the center of the mining activity for what came to be known as the Tri-State Mining District, which covered the corners of Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Lead and zinc mining created and sustained Joplin's economy for more than seven decades. Citizens of the Tri-State District shopped, socialized and banked in Joplin. The mining industry defined Joplin's role and provided the city with a viable reason to exist and prosper.
As a growing, prosperous city, Joplin led the region in creating not just a hard working place, but one that liked to have fun as well. The Joplin parks system was created in 1898, providing for leisure and recreation. Dance clubs became extremely popular. One of the largest hotels west of the Mississippi, the Connor Hotel, was noted for its top floor ballroom that provided that perfect setting for hundreds of dances, graduations, receptions and reunions.
While the Connor provided the best entertainment at the top of Joplin, there was also fun to be had below the city. The continued pumping of water out of the nearby mines lowered the water table, opening up a cavern on the west side of downtown. This cavern was lined with crystal geodes, creating a giant space that appeared to be made of diamonds. Numerous dances, family and community gatherings and performances were held in the Crystal Cave. As the mining moved farther way from the center of Joplin, water gradually reclaimed the cave, leaving only pictures and postcards as mementos of its heyday.
Though we may never know what it was like to live in Joplin during the mining era, Joplin citizens can be proud of our heritage and of what Joplin has become. Joplin is located in the southwest corner of Missouri, and offers easy access to eight major lakes and numerous clear-water streams. Superb scenery and clean air invite people outdoors throughout most of the mild four seasons.
As the commercial, medical, manufacturing and cultural hub of the Four-State Region, Joplin offers quality of life amenities rare in a city of this size, providing services for more than eight times its population. Located just seven miles from the Kansas border, 10 miles from the Oklahoma border and 50 miles from Arkansas, Joplin attracts thousands of daily visitors who work here, shop here and enjoy the many attractions the city offers. When everyone goes home at night, Joplin has a population of 52,000 people. But during the business day Monday through Saturday, the population swells to more than 240,000 people.
A diverse and brisk economy supports the needs of industry in the rapidly growing region. Unemployment is very low. Training programs are available, so opportunities for career advancement are numerous. A highly diversified manufacturing base provides almost 17 percent (13,000) of the jobs in the Joplin metro area, more than double the national percentage of manufacturing jobs. As a regional provider of medical services, the Joplin area employs more than 13,000 people in the health care and supporting social service professions. The trucking industry represents another major employment sector, since Joplin is considered the "Crossroads of America." Joplin is also the hub of the retail and restaurant scene, with offerings from local entrepreneurs and major national chains.
The quality of any community depends on the character of its residents. Joplin's "we care" attitude shows up everywhere. From the cheerful greeting of the neighbor across the fence to the many volunteers in civic organizations, evidence of goodwill abounds. Numerous youth programs offering sports, academic and mentoring opportunities reflect a strong investment in young people. More than 130 churches, representing most major denominations, enhance a commitment to values and family. "Having it all" isn't just a dream in Joplin, it's a way of life. The warmth and friendliness of the country combined with the vitality of the city make Joplin a natural choice for those who won't be satisfied with anything less than the best!
While Joplin respects its past, it is also focused on its future. The world is changing and so is the Joplin area. Technology is changing the landscape of our country and Joplin is no exception. Companies have discovered new opportunities that can be used to enhance their current operations and make money in rather non-traditional ways. Entrepreneurs are fulfilling their dreams using new innovative ideas. New technologies and sciences are merging, allowing major breakthroughs in health-related fields, including research and development in biotechnology and biomedicine led locally by the new Kansas City University-Joplin, Missouri’s first new medical school in more than forty years and a community-led effort to support the strong health care sector.
These changes are also giving new opportunities to the workforce. Salaries are increasing dramatically for people in technology fields. These changes have created a stronger awareness of the need to improve our education and training opportunities for all residents.
Joplin and the surrounding areas are committed to being proactive, and local business leaders, educators and companies are paving the way for the jobs of the future. As tomorrow becomes today, Joplin continues to be a driving force in the development of new ways of dealing with trends in technology.
Empire District -Liberty Utilities
602 South Joplin Avenue, 64801 - 417-625-5100
Customer Service - 417-624-0300
Missouri American Water Company
2323 Davis Blvd., 64804 - 417-627-3800
Customer Service - 866-430-0820
520 East 5th Street, 64801
Customer Service - 800-582-1234
City of Joplin - 417-624-0820 ext. 565
Department of Motor Vehicles
1110 East 7th Street, 64801 - 417-623-9700
602 South Main Street, 64801 - 417-624-0820
College Heights Christian School - 417-782-4114
Joplin Schools - 417-625-5200
Joplin Area Catholic Schools - 417-624-9320
Martin Luther School - 417-624-1403
Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School - 417-781-5124
Below is information about a book of essays that was put together by Jane Cage. Jane is one of the many champions of Joplin’s rebuilding effort after the May 2011 tornado that destroyed 1/3 of Joplin and neighboring Duquesne. The book is a collection of essays written by community leaders, public safety officials and volunteer coordinators about what was learned during EF5-Joplin. It is designed to be shared. Joplin and Jane are not looking for any gain from this project. We merely want to share what worked, what didn’t work and what we would do differently in the event of another major disaster. Maybe an experience in this book might help another when faced with a major disaster event.
Joplin stands strong with a business foundation that is comprised of a skilled labor force, easy transportation access, reasonable operating costs and local government that is pro-business.
These assets are what assure a strong economic development plan gets successful results. With a daytime population of more than 240,000, Joplin is a magnet for the surrounding area. About 62% of the available labor pool in the area has at least some college experience and almost 93% of potential employees have a high school diploma. Many have technical skill training beyond high school. Open to new possibilities, nearly 90% of workers say they are willing to work outside of their primary field of employment for the right opportunities. Along with its robust health care sector, the Joplin area has a diversified manufacturing base in food processing, fabricated metals, transportation equipment, plastics and packaging technologies. Customer service centers, trucking, retail, restaurants and hotels round out the strong economic base. What makes Joplin so attractive for new businesses as well as our existing firms? Key factors include major transportation access; a skilled, available and willing workforce; low operating costs and taxes; and a quality of living that comes from being a hub city in a market of nearly 500,000.
For complete demographics, please contact Lea@joplincc.com | 417.624.4150.