Joplin, Missouri, late 1970s

I was born in Joplin, but haven’t been there since 1984 and haven’t lived there since 1955, when I was 10 years old and attended Washington Elementary School. So most of my Joplin memories are of the early 1950s, after the mining heyday but before the city began its transformation to the new millenium.

Jacque and I were married in 1974. Beatrix, our first daughter, was born in 1977. Joplin was 1000 miles away, but we made the trip to visit my mother several times before she died in 1981. These color slides were discovered in the family archives and digitized on my film scanner.


Children's Home
Joe Becker Stadium, looking southwest from the Children’s Home, 1976

When I was growing up the stadium was Miners’ Park, home of the Joplin Miners baseball team. It was enclosed by a wooden fence. The Children’s Home at 3rd & Comingo had a stand where children could look over the fence and watch the game from right field.

Joe Becker Stadium
Ball game at Joe Becker Stadium, 1979

I lived at 2nd & High, diagonally across from the ball park. In the summer I could watch the game from my bedroom upstairs, or be kept awake if they went into extra innings. Home runs over the left field fence would land in our chicken lot — a bonanza of lightly used baseballs.

Redding's Mill
Redings Mill Swimming Pool, 1976

Of all the swimming pools in Joplin there was none like Redings Mill! Clear water from nearby Shoal Creek refreshed it weekly, and the slide was a grand adventure.

Garage on 2nd Street, looking southwest, 1979

Our one-car garage was so full of junk that I couldn’t dream of parking my car inside. The grassy driveway speaks of infrequent visits. A corner of Washington School at 2nd & Michigan is visible behind the garage.

Beatrix in the back yard, 1979

My daughter is grown up now, but visits with her grandmother were always special. This view, looking south toward the house, shows my aunt’s clothesline and the lush vegetation she had planted in the back yard.

updated June 11, 2017 more pictures of Joplin