The “Family Vacationland” Crisis

By 1960 tourist traffic steadily flowed through McDonald County as families rode through the region along the railroad from Kansas City, Missouri to Little Rock, Arkansas or took a detour from Route 66 as they drove through Joplin. Noel had become the nucleus of this traffic, with Lanagan and Southwest City operating as secondary tourist centers, and proudly advertised a scenic national highway, dozens of resorts, and all of the goods and services needed to appreciate the beautiful Ozarks. However, the 1960 tourist season was rocked by machinations in Jefferson City, with even greater changes to come the following year.

A postcard showing the scenic stretch of US Highway 71, which ran from Canada to Louisiana, along the Elk River Bluffs just outside of Noel. Courtesy of the McDonald County Historical Society.

 

Next: Highway Changes Within McDonald County

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