What Is Joplin Known For? (18 Things It’s Famous For)

Jasper’s a city in Missouri, located in the Jasper and Newton counties, southwest of the state. Most of the city’s situated on the Jasper side of the county, while a small southern population is located on the Newton side. The city is on the outer edge of the Ozark Mountains and is the 13th most populous city in the state of Missouri.

Joplin is known for housing many hidden gems, despite being overshadowed by other cities in the state. It’s given Joplin a reputation similar to how a film might become a cult classic. Joplin is all about historic sites and iconic locations. It’s absolutely worth a visit for most tourists looking for something new. 

The Joplin Tornado

First and foremost, let’s get the most interesting (and terrifying) fact. In May of 2011, the city was hit by one of the most violent tornadoes — marking one of the deadliest disasters in modern history. It’s not an exaggeration to state that the Joplin tornado managed to destroy a staggering one-third of the city.

Getting Back Up

However, while the tornado was one of the deadliest disasters in modern history, Joplin isn’t known for taking things lying down. The city was able to pick itself back up, and it changed significantly a little over a decade later. One reason why tourists look to Joplin is to see just how much the city has changed and improved since the Joplin tornado of 2011.

34th Street and Oak Ridge Drive

Anyone with even a passing interest in the notorious criminals Bonnie and Clyde would know all about 34th Street and Oak Ridge Drive in Joplin city. It’s where the duo stayed for a time when they robbed several businesses. The duo was forced to leave their possessions, which was how their iconic photographs were printed in film. There were even attempts to add the location to the National Register of Historic Places. Speaking of…

The National Register of Historic Places

There are numerous buildings in Joplin that are part of the National Register of Historic Places. This includes the Joplin Downtown Historic District, the 66 Drive-in Theater, the Jasper County Courthouse, and much more. Joplin is the ideal city for history buffs who want to visit a few places with historical value. Some cities will have museums to tempt tourists — Joplin often feels like a museum in itself, using the city to lure in tourists and history buffs from around the world.

Freeman Health System and Mercy Hospital Joplin

The city has two primary hospitals, Freeman Health System and Mercy Hospital Joplin. Interestingly enough, the latter had replaced St. John’s Regional Medical Center, which unfortunately was destroyed by the Joplin tornado. There are more specialized hospitals for the community, including Landmark Hospital and Freeman Hospital East. As Mercy Hospital Joplin proved, Joplin undoubtedly came back stronger than ever after the tornado.

American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog

Considering how much people love dogs, it’s strange that there’s only one museum in the entire world (!) entirely dedicated to man’s best friend. The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog holds the distinction, and it’s one of the reasons why so many tourists are looking to visit St. Louis. Unfortunately, while Branson might be known for its tourism, they don’t have a museum 100% dedicated to dogs!

Iconic Route 66

The iconic Route 66 in Joplin isn’t just something you can visit — it’s something you can experience in the best way possible. Hideout Harley-Davidson is one of the biggest showrooms and dealerships featuring the iconic manufacturer. Some people head to the dealership to look at motorcycles and potentially get one to ride through Route 66. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many!

A Bit of Irish Hospitality

You can go for some Irish hospitality with Keltoi winery for those looking for something a bit different. It was established in 1997 and produces over a dozen different types of wine for wine enthusiasts. The vineyard itself offers many different attractions, and you can have a fun picnic or enjoy a mile-long walking trail. It has a little bit of something for everyone, and the Irish-themed winery is sure to leave you wanting more.

The Trendy Restaurant Scene

While they say that Kansas City is known as the home of barbeque in Missouri, it doesn’t hold a candle to the amount of barbeque consumed by the inhabitants of Joplin! Such is the reason why the city is known for its trendy restaurants, which are little hot pots of various cuisines. Of course, Missouri’s love for barbeque is legendary in the US, and Joplin city is no different. For those who want a religious experience with barbeque, Joplin has you covered.

Making the Most Out of Joplin

Those visiting Missouri are probably doing so due to a variety of reasons. Some might be into the southern styles of cuisine, while others still are looking to head to the vast entertainment districts of Branson, Joplin offers a little bit of everything. If you want to make the most out of Joplin, it’s all about planning the trip around museums, parks, restaurants, and historic sites.

The Joplin Spooklight

For those looking for a bit more fun in the supernatural side of things, Joplin city is known for the Spooklight, an unexplainable light known to appear in what’s called the “Devil’s Promenade.” Naturally, there are plenty of legends concerning the Spooklight, with one of them involving the tail of two Native American lovers. Those looking to deep dive further into the legends will find plenty of information regarding the Spooklight in Joplin!

Ocean Adventures Indoor Playground

Those that want a little more fun and excitement for the kids when visiting the city will have plenty to enjoy thanks to attractions such as the Ocean Adventures Indoor Playground. While there are plenty of historic sites and entertaining areas for the adults, the kids can have just as much fun with this ocean-themed indoor playground. It has three levels of play, including ball pits, slides, tunnels, ropes, and more.

How Joplin Ranks in Terms of Sustainability

While there are plenty of reasons to visit Joplin, what about the potential sustainability of living in the city? Fortunately, compared to most big cities in the US, Joplin is a surprisingly low-maintenance experience. The price of living is relatively low, and the opportunities are similar to other larger cities. It combines to make a relatively easy city to live in, though there are some issues.

A Mix of Hustle, Bustle, and Relaxation

There are usually a few standout features that make it worth visiting one city over the other. The exciting thing about Joplin is there’s a sense of balance when it comes to the hustle and bustle, as well as the relaxing side of the city. For example, the city has its fair share of parks and relaxing attractions, including museums. It also has that sense of excitement that many tourists look for, especially with the historic sites. It’s an excellent overall balance that makes it a great place.

The Strange Thing About Crime Rates

Joplin is a surprisingly famous city filled to the brim with historic landmarks. Unfortunately, all of its iconic locations are marred by the fact that Joplin is not considered very safe. In fact, the likelihood of being a victim of theft or a violent crime is about 1 in 14. It doesn’t sound too good to be sure, but it doesn’t stop tourists from checking the city out. Fortunately, it’s become such a tourist hotspot that you could potentially avoid the issues by sticking to the safest spots.

The Time of Dramatic Growth

Joplin would experience dramatic growth when construction on railroads started. The rails would connect the city to various other major markets, which, similar to the rise of most cities around the world, was the catalyst for dramatic growth in Joplin. The city was rich in all sorts of minerals, making it a prime location for growth and expansion.

A Lawless, Inspired Time

Back in the day, a plan was laid out to build a town on the other end of the valley that would become the city of Joplin, known as Murphysburg. Unfortunately, the sheriff at the time was ineffective, and a sense of lawlessness spread all over the town. This would come to be known as the reign of terror. It’s a lawless yet inspired time in the history of the old city.

The Town Jack Built

It’s common knowledge that Joplin got its start with lead, thanks to the discovery of the material in Joplin Creek Valley during the Civil War. While lead played a significant role in the development of the town that would become the city of Joplin, it was zinc that would cement its place in history. Funny enough, zinc was referred to as Jack, which is why Joplin was referred to as the town Jack built.