Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ozarks Public Television To Debut History of Branson Documentary April 1

Ozarks Public Television


Ozarks Public Television will take viewers on a deep dive of Branson history on April 1. It's new documentary will focus on Branson’s growth from a popular fishing spot to Missouri’s titan of tourism. 

Jason Ferber, producer and writer on OPT's documentary, said the Branson area was a popular spot for fishermen on the White River in the 19th century, but more visitors started coming at the turn of the century when the railroad linked the city to the outside world.  That was around the same time author Harold Bell Wright published his famous novel, Shepherd of the Hills, set in the Ozarks. 

"People start taking the train to see Shepherd of the Hills country. 'Come meet the people that were described in this book'," Ferber told KSMU.

The documentary covers the historical events like the creation of the Baldknobbers, Table Rock Lake, and how Branson is evolving as tourism changes. 

Ferber says the story of Branson's growth is complex. There’s not one 'Walt Disney' figure of Branson, but a variety of entertainers that built tourism there over the years. 

“You have The Shepherd of the Hills. You have Silver Dollar City," Ferber says. "You have all of these unique things that are just kind of popping up around, and it just all kind of grew very organically. It’s just a neat story. The people that live down in the Branson area, they’re really talented folks.” 

The hour-long special airs April 1 at 8 PM on Ozarks Public Television. 

KSMU and Ozarks Public Television are both part of Ozarks Public Broadcasting and share the same management. 

Josh Conaway is a graduate of Missouri State University with a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in International Affairs. He works as a news reporter and announcer at KSMU. His favorite part of the job is exploring the rich diversity of the Ozarks and meeting people with interesting stories to share. He has a passion for history and running.