Joplin is blessed with 99 diverse neighborhoods featuring a fascinating mix of housing from many different time periods. So there is, literally, something for everyone. In fact, one neighborhood, Murphysburg, has even been named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Joplin experienced a surge of growth at the turn of the 20th century because it was a mining boomtown that produced large quantities of both lead and zinc ore. Joplin has been fortunate ever since because it has continued to enjoy the lovely original neighborhoods – Murphysburg, East Town and North Heights – which were built during those early decades. All three neighborhoods enjoy close proximity to Joplin’s downtown.
For instance, Historic Murphysburg offers brochures to allow those interested to take a walking tour and also holds periodic events like a Housewalk held every other December, according to Paula Callihan, director of the all-volunteer Historic Murphysburg Preservation, Inc. The historic neighborhood is being further enhanced by private investment. David and Debra Humphreys of TAMKO Building Products are currently restoring three homes in the neighborhood, built between 1890 and 1900. They will eventually be open to the public for educational tours, special events and historic research into Joplin’s past.
East Town, just east of Joplin’s downtown, has ready access to Landreth Park, the weekly Empire Market and the independent Bookhouse Cinema. It is also hoped that the neighbors there might someday choose to somehow celebrate and feature their neighborhood’s central cultural corridor and its proximity to historic Route 66.
North Heights, Joplin’s third-oldest neighborhood, has already initiated social events like Porch Fest, an October one-day event in which local bands play on residential porches to the delight of 400-500 attendees and has plans for more in the future, said Stephen Grindle, one of the leaders of North Heights’ resident group.
The development of Joplin followed the development of local industries. The southern neighborhoods provide easy access to Interstate 44 and the growing Joplin medical sector including Mercy Hospital, Freeman Hospital and the KCU Medical School. The northern neighborhoods, on the other hand, have access to plentiful retail and to Missouri Southern State University. Homes in both areas feature a range of mid-century modern, traditional and contemporary architecture.
New neighborhoods are constantly coming to market and being integrated into the thriving Joplin community as excited new residents choose to make Joplin their home. Ready access to excellent schools, city parks, employers, coffee shops, running/walking trails, restaurants, shopping, golf courses and entertainment make Joplin a top place to put down roots for generations to come.
A new collaborative organization called One Joplin has been bringing neighbors, city leaders, businesses, nonprofits and public organizations together for the collective good of the community since 2015. It is led by Ashley Micklethwaite, executive director.
“One Joplin is a backbone organization which brings together many other organizations to address common concerns and make Joplin a community of neighbors,” she said.
“We are working with neighborhood leaders to learn each area’s unique strengths, issues and concerns and help them figure out how to use their strengths to address the concerns,” Micklethwaite added. “In some cases we are teaching residents how to set up a social media account that they can use to connect with their neighbors. In others, we are helping them figure out how to hold a block party or ice cream social to get neighbors to meet each other.”
One Joplin has also started a “neighborhood council” to bring the leaders from many neighborhoods together to learn from each other, get tips on how to engage the city and to hear experts talk about various issues.
“We also try to identify an ‘anchor’ in each neighborhood and often they are churches. We have been working with the neighborhood anchors we have identified to emphasize that they need to see themselves as leaders, using their hidden connections or social capital to boost their unique neighborhoods,” Micklethwaite said.
For instance, the Joplin Public Library has been a fantastic collaborative partner, she said. They have repeatedly offered meeting space and because of their participation in collaborative groups, they have teamed up with the local school district to bring the library’s summer reading programs to neighborhoods and have been educating parents on using the evidence-based literacy app, Vroom.org, which sends daily educational tips to parents’ phones to help them participate in their children’s learning.To learn more about specific Joplin neighborhoods, visit www.onejoplin.com/neighborhood-identification.html and click around on the city map to find basics about any neighborhood. There are also more extensive links to the websites that a few neighborhoods have started including Murphysburg, Royal Heights, Mohaska, North Heights and East Town for its mural project.
Make Your Home Here and Put Down Roots
Joplin is a community that offers a delightful mix of amenities, communities, schools and lifestyles in a wide variety of neighborhood locations. Take time to look around and delve into our hidden riches to figure out exactly where you can fit in and put down your unique roots. We would love to “see you around town!”