Through the Years, May 8

50 years ago

May 15, 1974


Major improvement on Highway 37 in Barry County has been placed on the Missouri Highway Department’s current five-year plan, according to Wilbur Stegner, district engineer. The highway official told the Cassville Chamber of Commerce roads and highway committee Friday of the plan. Current thinking of the department is for construction of that stretch of the highway that extends northward from the Missouri-Arkansas line to an intersection with Route 90 at Washburn. The length if improved would be about nine miles. Stegner told the committee the project going into a five year plan was the second attempt by the department to get the stretch improved. A previous five-year plan was dropped several years ago when construction costs soar-ed. Although the improvement is planned, it would leave a stretch of about nine miles yet to be accomplished to completely redesign Highway 37 from Monett to the state line. The 19 miles separating Cassville and Monett were finished several years ago. Right-of-way acquisition would be the first step in the project. Stegner acknowledged basic location of the route was pretty well decided during the previous plan period. He said costs involved would necessitate a two phase development of the road from the state line to Cassville. Final determination of the project will depend on funds available, energy crunch, and gas tax returns to the state. Committee members, Truman Baker and Carter Koon, co-chairmen, Wayne Krepps, Tom Cardin, with C of C president Bob Mitchell, director Kenneth Johnston and secretary Bill Ward met with Stegner. The engineer was also concerned about pending traffic problems in and around Cassville with the coming of FASCO to this community. He said a traffic and plans team would be summoned here to make a complete survey. Of particular interest to the department are intersections at Highway 37 and Route 248 that will be served by the Sales Barn Road. Stegner also urged the highway planning group to proceed with their plans to request improvement on Route 76 east of Cassville to connect with new Highway 39 into the central Table Rock Lake area. Local planners are desirous of having this improvement planned to make better access to Cassville and Roaring River State Park. The park possibility would be a natural circle drive for the thousands of tourists in the respective areas throughout the year. Stegner also noted that better direction signing of the Highway 76 turn-off would be accomplished soon as the Route 39 project nears completion. Highway 76 from Cassville to Route 39 is designated a primary system road in the department’s classification. Route 39 is a supplementary road. Stegner said the desired improvement pointed out by the C of C group would be included on a higher classification route, which made the possibilities of up-dating very good. Requests are being prepared for forwarding to the Highway Commission and engineering staff in Jefferson City, requesting early consideration of both programs of highway improvement to serve this area.

40 years ago


The Barry County Industrial Development Authority will finalize issuance of $275,000 bond program for a new Wheaton industry in a public hearing May 31. Cherry Warren, president, said the authority action will complete financing of Four-R Poultry Service, Inc. Letters of inducement on the project were issued March 14, to acquire, renovate and equip a 13,000 square foot building to be used as a chicken deboning plant. Issuance was to C-M Industries, Inc., principals being Junior Bixler of Wheaton and Rick Anthony of Joplin. Facilities will be leased by C-M Industries to Four-R Poultry, involving Henry Clapper, Jerry Weber, Gale Huffmaster and Chuck Whitaker of Monett. Property involved in the transition is the former Stone Chevrolet building at Highway 86 and Route W in Wheaton. Conversion of the property is currently in progress.


There will be Open House Sunday, May 27 at Seligman’s Union Church in observance of it’s 100th birthday. Senator Emory Melton of Cassville will be the guest speaker. The church was erected in 1884 by Benjamin McCann and his two sons, Al and Frank, on land given by J. W. Seligman for whom the town was named. Mr. Seligman, a major stockholder in the Frisco Railroad Co, died before the church was built but in his will he directed that $500 be given toward building the church. He stipulated that the church be open to all protestant denominations and those using the building furnish the coal oil for the lamps and wood for the stove if heat was required. Mrs. Scligman donated the $500, but it was not enough to pay for the building so the people of the community raised the balance of $300 by subscription, making the total cost $800. In those early years all denominations. worshiped together with different ministers serving on alternate Sundays- Methodist, Christian, Baptist, Church of Christ and perhaps others. W. A. Bashe, Frisco agent at Seligman at the time, began the first Sunday School there in 1884 and served as its superintendent until his death. Another long-time Sunday School superintendent was Floyd Fawver who served in that capacity until the late 1950s. Over a period of years the denominations began erecting their own. churches. With this, attendance dwindled at the town’s original church. No services were held in the Union Church from 1959 to 1967. The building was badly in need of repair. In 1967, as a community project, Seligman’s Dahlia Garden Club began a seven- year program of restoration of the church as a community landmark, following the usual fund-raising practices to finance the project. Total expenditures to June 1975 was $5,218.21, more than five times the original cost of the building. When the restoration project began interest in the church revived. Sunday School was started, then worship services began again with Bro. J. Kahler serving from 1967 until his health failed. Seminary students from Ozark Bible College in Joplin have ministered at the Seligman church, as have other area ministers. In this, the centennial year, Bro. Bob Bradley of Rogers, AR is the minister Union Church is under the supervision of a board of three trustees: Eleanor Stapleton Stewart of Cassville, who replaced her father, Walter Stapleton, as a trustee; 1 Wesley Curtis of Springfield, Mo., who replaced his father. Walter Curtis; and Sylvia Goins McCann of Seligman, whose husband, Bennie McCann is a grandson of the church’s builder. Four generations of the builder’s family still live in the community: Bennie McCann; a great-grandson, Wayne McCann; a great-great-grand-daughter, Mrs. Edreth Pearcy; a great-great-great-grand-daughter, Mrs. Bonnie Pearcy Tilman, and a great-great-great-grandson, Rick McCann. Anyone who has treasures or souvenirs relating to the church through the years is encouraged to display them at the May 27 celebration. Contact any of the trustees or Bennie McCann to offer these for display.


Plan your strawberry-picking strategy now. The season’s almost here. Normally Missouri strawberries are ready for plucking the third week of May. But this year strawberries will ripen one week later, said John Lower, extension horticulture specialist. That’s because the ground stayed colder longer than usual this year, he said. Because spring moves from south to north, southern Missouri can expect ripe strawberries the end of May. The rest of the state will be picking the popular fruit in June. “We’re expecting a good crop; there was little winter injury this year,” said Lower. He explained that a combination of factors protected the crops. “When the temperature went way down this year, the plants were insulated with a snow cover,” said Lower. Straw mulch also protected the crops. Several sources of strawberry-picking information are available to prospective pickers.


The Missouri Conservation Commission approved a land purchase Monday that adds another chunk of property to a new state forest taking shape in southwest Missouri. Its name is Flag Spring State Forest. Its location is at the Barry and McDonald County line, west of Washburn and Exeter and east of Powell. The area is accessible via Highway 90 and Route UU. Its prime attraction may be deer hunting, possibly as early as this fall, one state forester said. The commission approved the purchase of two separate tracts of land totaling 290 acres. All of the property is in the middle of the proposed state forest and is owned by Norice Harris of Plains, Texas. The purchase was approved Monday, but the price won’t be disclosed until the transaction is closed, said Conservation Department Director Larry Gale. The biggest chunk of land in the forest, 2,400 acres, was purchased from Peterson Drosihn last February for $600,000. Monday’s land deal brings the total size of the forest to about 3,400 acres, said Tom Ronk, a state forest land specialist for the Conservation Department. “I stress that it’s not open to the general public yet,” Rónk said. As with any new forest land, Ronk said there is some timber to clear, interior fences to remove and boundary lines and signs to be put in place. Additional purchases of small portions of land may be considered to allow better access to the property, Ronk said. Total purchases are near an end for the new state forest, which some day may be developed for hiking trails also, Ronk said. Jerry Presley, the state’s chief Forster, said forestry with members of the department’s fish, wildlife and natural history divisions to decide the best use for the land. “What got us interested was when we learned that this tract might be for sale,” Presley said. “It was a large, concentrated block and one owner. The timber was excellent quality, and it’s in an area where there is need for additional public land.

30 years ago

May 4, 1994


The Army Corps of Engineers’ Little Rock District is advising users of Beaver, Table Rock and Bull Shoals lakes, especially dock owners, that water levels are rising considerably as the result of recent heavy rains. And with more rain forecasted for the area, the lakes could rise enough to force flood control releases from Beaver and Table Rock dams. Dock owners are being asked to take precautions to prevent damage to their facilities. Beaver lake was at elevation 1,125.1 Friday morning. If the forecasted rainfall develops, Beaver will crest near elevation 1,127, and a combination of hydropower and spillway releases have to be made into Table Rock Lake at a rate of 15,000 cubic feet per second. This will cause Table Rock to rise to elevation 921.7, forcing releases of 15,000 to 20,000 c. f. s. into Bull Shoals Lake. Releases from Bull Shoals are being limited to prevent farm land downstream along the White River from flooding now that the growing season has begun. If the rain fails to materialize, lake levels will still be rather high, and some spillway releases may still need to be made from Beaver Dam. If no rain falls, Beaver is expected to rise to elevation 1,125.5, and Table Rock is expected to rise to elevation 917.


Precise Manufacturing of Cassville has purchased an estimated three acres adjoining their plant site on Sale Barn Road from Mr. and Mrs. George Lebow. Owned by Dan Fancher and Joe Lay, the new acquisition will be used for storage and possible future expansion.

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