The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

June 4, 2012

Joplin proud: Longtime Joplinite recalls city’s early days

JOPLIN, Mo. — Some familiar Joplin landmarks might be gone, but they are very much alive in the mind of Anna Frank “Frankie” Hale, whose ancestors settled in Joplin in the late 1800s.

Hale, 86, spoke to the Joplin Welcome Club last week at Twin Hills Country Club, without notes, about her affinity for the city and its early development.

Born March 26, 1926, at 10th and Rex streets, the dyed-in-the-wool Joplinite hasn’t strayed far since. Her family’s beginnings in Joplin date back to 1895, when her mother, Laura Taylor, came by covered wagon from Springfield as a young girl with her mother and father.

The trip took three days. There was no road, just a path.

When they arrived, they lived in a tent city populated by mining families in the area near East Seventh Street and the current-day Target store.

“It was all open country,” Hale said. “There was a spring she hauled enough water from to drain the Mississippi dry.”

Taylor would meet and marry N.H. Carson, Hale’s father, and they began building a life together. With his horse team, Carson earned $2 a day hauling chat to help build nearby roads.

“We called Seventh Street ‘the pike,’” Hale said. “I can remember, in my childhood, when they paved Seventh Street.”

The Carsons built a white house at 1002 Rex St. to the tune of $1,100, but worried that when they were finished they still owed $35.

When Hale was born, the home still was without electricity or city water, so the family built a house at 802 Rex St. using stones from the American Beauty Mine. Its location afforded day laborers the ability to hand dig a water line extending all the way to an existing water line at Range Line Road.

The family moved in when Hale was 22 months old. She still lives there today.

“If I live to be 1,000, it will always be home,” she said.

The street was almost named after her family Ñ Carson Avenue Ñ but her father rejected the suggestion from the street superintendent, advising him instead to name it Rex after the Rex Mining Co.

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