The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 20, 2013

Jo Ellis: Different day, different topography in Carthage

CARTHAGE, Mo. —  It may seem implausible to us now, but the topography of our familiar downtown Carthage was quite different 138 years ago.

That was pointed out to me when I recently ran across an article relating a story from an early settler, Mrs. E.O. Brown, published in a 1935 edition of the Carthage Press.

Mrs. Brown (the article never provided her the dignity of a given name), was remembering how the area just southwest of the square was covered by a lake when she arrived here with her family in 1874.

“The Carthage square was on a bluff,” she said, “rising to its highest point at the southwest corner, and there was a sharp drop to the lake level. Most of the area between Main, Fourth, Lyon and Fifth streets was covered by the lake, which was quite deep.

“It was fed by several springs. The water was clear and was deep enough to swim in. It was full of growing cress and was a popular resort for boys of the neighborhood. Ed Gerkey, then a 4-year-old tot, delighted to wade in its edges and drew frequent reprimands for his temerity.”

The Gerkey home stood on the corner of Fourth and Lyon streets, the current site of the Springer Building. Just south was the Spangler residence, and next to that was the Dr. Brooks home at the corner of Lyon and Fifth streets. Lombardy poplars bordered Lyon Street and enhanced the attractiveness of the lake, which was considered a real beauty spot.

(The tall, columnar, aggressively growing Lombardy poplar tree had just been introduced to the United States in 1874 and was in high demand.)

“The only building in the lake area was the structure occupied by the Carthage Daily Banner, facing Main Street,” Mrs. Brown recalled. “It stood on piles 10 feet high to put it above the water and to the street level.

“At the southwest corner of the square where the College pharmacy now stands, the drop to the lake was probably 20 feet. In later years when R. Roessler and his sons, Julius and Ed, built the brick building now occupied by (Uptown Downtown), the workmen excavated deep and laid drain tile to carry off the water from the principal spring that fed the lake. The water was carried to an open ditch that is now a walled-in storm sewer on West Fourth Street. As other buildings were erected, the lake was drained and the hollow filled in to bring it to the street level.”

Our much-acclaimed Jasper County Courthouse, electric trolley lines and automobiles were still a good 20 to 30 years in the future. Think when you drive through this area today what a quiet, beautiful and idyllic spot it used to be.

Address correspondence to Jo Ellis, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email news@joplinglobe.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Pseudoephedrine sales in Pittsburg to require prescription

    Starting Friday, those who purchase pseudoephedrine and related products in Pittsburg will need a prescription to do so.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cherokee County Commission accepts general counsel's resignation

    Kevin Cure, who has served as general counsel for the Cherokee County Commission since 2005, submitted a handwritten resignation to the board on Monday in the aftermath of a landfill controversy.

    July 22, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Parents can get help with school supplies

    I don’t know much about demographics other than the fact that I no longer belong to a “targeted demographic.” When I was younger, I was bombarded by commercials and ads from companies that were trying to sell me things that I not only needed but wanted.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jasper County Commission reviews traffic plans

    The Jasper County Commission will hold public hearings today and Thursday on a number of traffic changes proposed in the county. No one spoke when the first hearing was held Tuesday as part of the regular commission meeting, according to Jim Honey, Eastern District associate commissioner.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin school board reviews audit procedures

    A team from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has begun requesting documents in its task to audit the operations and management of the Joplin School District, the audit manager told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin man to stand trial in accident case

    A passenger accused of causing an accident on Interstate 44 in Joplin that injured three others as well as himself was ordered bound over for trial Tuesday on three felony counts.

    July 22, 2014

  • r072214soroptimist3.jpg Volunteers spend week providing camp experience to foster youths

    Karen McGlamery is a massage therapist. Terri Falis-Cochran is a finance manager. Jane McCaulley is a retired art teacher. But for a week each summer, the three are among dozens of area residents who become camp counselors.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho school board hires company to manage substitutes

    Citing its hopes of shifting health care costs and utilizing more time from retired teachers, the Neosho Board of Education granted a contract Monday to a temporary employee company to manage its substitute teacher program.

    July 22, 2014

  • Main Street TIF district study to begin

    A measure that allows the city to charge its $15,000 in administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.

    July 21, 2014

  • Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.

    July 21, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined. Do you think those kinds of measures should be taken?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter