Located only a couple of hours south of Kansas City and in close proximity to Springfield, Joplin, Missouri, is a haven for history and commerce. Most people will recognize Joplin from Bobby Troup's song about Route 66, which passes through Joplin. Others may recognize Joplin from the plethora of media coverage after a deadly EF-5 tornado ripped through the city in 2011, leaving at least 150 dead and more than 900 injured.
Even after the tragedy of the tornado, the city of Joplin has rebounded and remains an icon for travelers and residents alike. Its motto, “Proud of our past...Shaping our future,” tells of the city's dedication to becoming even better than before the devastation.
Joplin was largely a rural mining community until the early 20th century. Generations of trouble with lawlessness were still felt in the 1930s with the arrival of Bonnie and Clyde, who robbed businesses in Joplin and eventually led to the demise of two law enforcement officers. Many of the notable photographs of the pair were actually recovered from their residence in Joplin after their escape.