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SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI, AND SURROUNDINGS • 1889


(previous page) Kansas and Colorado, and one of the brightest young business men of the Sunflower State, said of Springfield after a recent visit: It is twice the town I expected to see, and unless I greatly mistake the indications, is one of the coming large cities of the Southwest.

Col. Henry Inman, another well known Kansan, and a journalist and author of national reputation, who knows the whole western country almost as well as if it were his own creation, recently said to the writer: “Much as I love my own Kansas, I have come to think so well of Springfield and this beautiful Southwest Missouri that I am almost persuaded to cast my lot with them and plant my roof-tree in a state I once despised, and among a people who but yesterday were strangers to me. I am delighted with Springfield, and see in despised old Missouri elements of greatness possessed by no other state in the Union.

Col. R. J. McElhaney, president of the First National Bank, and a veteran merchant and banker, whose ample fortune and public spirit have aided many a worthy public enterprise, looks for long years of continued prosperity for the city, and believes it will double its present population.

Mr. L. D. Routt, one of the livest real estate brokers in the city, takes a very hopeful view of the situation and thinks the next five years will be as prosperous as the last five, during which the population has nearly doubled.

Jas. R. Milner, a leading abstractor and loan broker, whose local investments have proven very profitable, is confident of a strong and steady growth for the city, and can see no reason why it shall not grow to 60,000 within a few years.

In my DRURY COLLEGE NOTES no mention was made of the college library, which embraces nearly 20,000 volumes, and is rich in literary, scientific and historic treasures. Its admirable preparatory department and English course were overlooked too, and it may not be inappropriate to mention here the fact that its superb Stone Chapel and stately Fairbanks Hall, together, cost nearly $100,000.

In my notes on the country tributary to Springfield, I omitted the mention of LAND VALUES, which are of primary importance to the home seeker and investor. Correction is cheerfully made by the statement that improved farms in the neighborhood of Springfield range all the way from $15 to $50 per acre, the price depending on location, soil and improvements. Further out in newer, less settled counties, improved farms are worth $10 to $35 per acre. WILD LANDS, which in Southwest Missouri means woodland (the prairies are nearly all improved), are selling all the way from $1.25 to $10 per acre, according to location, value of timber, quality of soil, etc., etc.

Along the Gulf Railroad to the southeast of Springfield, nearly all the way to the Arkansas line, are large districts of country where wild lands well suited to fruit growing and mixed farming, may be had for $2, $3 and $4 per acre. The cheaper class of GRAZING LANDS, well suited for horse, sheep and cattle ranches, where the woods are abundant in wild grasses, may be bought for $1, $2 and $3 per acre. Undeveloped MINERAL LANDS bearing lead and zinc, and the real value of which is only determined by development, are buying and selling at figures which almost anybody can command, and the chances for fortunate “strikes” seem quite common.

I have no apology to offer for the brief PERSONAL ATTENTION given in these pages, for the very good reason that the gentlemen quoted are among the best men of the city, whose opinions are always and everywhere quotable.

They are the men of heart and hope, to whose courage, working gifts and public spirit the city owes a large measure of its prosperity, and are the men to be honored in this connection or any other. I have mentioned the new additions, not to advertise them or their owners, but because they represent material growth and commercial prosperity. I owe ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS to my valued friends, A. L. Drew and Chas. H. Goffe, by whose invitation this book was undertaken. Col. John. E. Phelps, B. T. King, J. J. Hibler, Col. Geo. S. Rathbun, Ramsey & Otterson, A. W. Ollis, Dr. G. S. Catlin, L. T. Bell, Col. J. W. Powers and J. T. Gray, all sterling workers for the city, have my thanks for kind offices that made this book possible. The Merchants Exchange is kindly remembered for the generous gifts of its membership in providing for views of Drury College, Ozark Hotel, street scenes, the Frisco shops, etc., and Col. J. W. Hall, the big hearted manager of the elegant Metropolitan Hotel, and genial “Bob” Beatty and Mr. Sutter, his worthy lieutenants, have a warm place in my heart of hearts for courtesies worth remembering. Mr. J. E. Lockwood, the veteran general passenger agent of the Gulf system, has my thanks for courtesies, and this fair city of the Ozarks a reluctant good-bye.

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