Our historic places, people and events tell the unique story of Joplin and southwest Missouri.  Historical images provide a foundation to a common experience and a shared sense of community identity. In a world that is constantly changing, historical photographs bring peace of mind to something that remains stable and relatable in our lives. They are a part of our community’s connective tissue to the past.

Each era has a look and style of its own. Photographs are exceptional documentary elements which give sociological insight into the mannerisms of the day. These visual records identify the dress, hairstyles and customs that can only be connected to the moment they were shot.

They also portray the physical landscape of the time and how that landscape has changed. Many of the buildings and people in these photographs no longer exist.  The images leave a lasting visual account of those dramatic changes.

For future generations these historical time capsules will provide a better understanding and appreciation for those who came before them. To our ancestors who have put their distinctive stamp on the community, we salute you. We thank you for adding character to our history. 

The narrative and photographs are provided by Brad Belk and the Joplin Historical & Mineral Museums, Inc. Belk is the Director Emeritus of Joplin Historical & Mineral Museums, Inc.  As a thirty-two-year practicing community public historian, Belk has made it his life’s mission to create greater awareness of the importance of local history.

In addition, Bob Smith has graciously shared the fabulous grade cards and photographs from Lincoln School. Bob was a proud Lincoln School student during the 1950s. To Bob, the school was like a second home and rightly so. Both his father Gandy, and mother Bernice, were teachers at Lincoln.

Thank you, Bob, for sharing your past with us. We greatly appreciate these treasured records.