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Falling into Ozarks History

Oct 06, 2010

As you travel the Ozarks this fall to attend Timberfest, Haunting in the Hills, arts and crafts shows or simply to view the fall colors, you just might pass through small towns like Grandin, Winona, Birch Tree, Jadwin or Bunker. You may pull over to take a break, get a cool drink or fill up the tank.

A Lasting Impact

As you visit these towns and others scattered through the Ozarks, something to keep in mind is the impact these very towns had on the settlement of not only the Ozarks but the entire western United States. It may not be easily recognized, but it was immeasurable. Without the people who settled in these towns and the lumber and railroad ties they produced, development might have come much more slowly.

What Set the Ozarks Apart

The "Big Mills and Tall Timber" and "Stamp of Character" DVDs do a great job in telling the history of settlement in the Ozarks. What sets the Ozarks apart from other areas of the country that were heavily harvested is how the citizens began to look ahead.

Our Children's Future

In a conversation with Gifford Pinchot, the first United States forester, the manager of the Missouri Mine and Lumber Company, J. B. White, said, “We are not thinking of the future or handing down of our business to future generations. If this (reduction of the size of the mills) were done, better prices could be obtained for lumber and the business could be perpetuated.”

Grassroots Effort

It’s here in Missouri that loggers, hunters and citizens saw the need to manage our forests, fish and wildlife. Citizens saw the need to manage and, in some cases, such as with the deer, turkey and bluebirds, restore our resources. Looking out for the future is just one more thing to add to our proud Ozarks heritage.

Witness History For Yourself

You can add to the value of that heritage by sharing the history with your family as you pass through the Ozarks this fall. To view the "Big Mills and Tall Timber" and "Stamp of Character" DVDs, or to discover more about Ozarks fish, forest and wildlife history, stop by the Twin Pines Conservation Education Center.


Thanks for asking Janine. Although You have already passed through the area, you may still want to check out the Grandin DVD at your local MDC office. The Stamp  of Character DVD is well worth the 20 minutes as well. The railroads out west were built on the backs of Missouri timber.  The railroad may have been much delayed without the timber industry here.  What isn't widely know is the size of the pines, there were reports of 7 feet in diameter.  A section of one was displayed at the World Fair in St. Louis.  The area is a perfect example of a boom and bust.  It is here too that the attitudes started changing and people started thinking about the future.  It was a turning point in our attitude toward our natural resources. 

Thank you for this information. I did not know this about the Ozarks. I am eager to check out those videos.

Hello, What happened that is noteworthy in the small Missouri towns of Grandin, Winona, Birch Tree, Jadwin and Bunker? I'm driving through the Ozarks next week.

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