Sense of Community

Our ongoing, 10-part Community Journalism series airs quarterly

From poverty concerns to major policy decisions, this series dives beyond the headlines to provide in-depth coverage of issues facing people and organizations in the Ozarks. KSMU's team of reporters come together to produce 10 stories, four times a year;  see past espisodes of our Sense of Community series here.

Springfield News-Leader

He said his name was Omar Palmer, although he answered no questions about his past. It’s been said he arrived by train in Crane Missouri around 1929-1931, then made his way about 10 miles east through Stone County to the very small farm community of Oto, to establish the first of 3 medical clinics in the area. 

Within a few years after his arrival, Omar Palmer was treating 100, 150, and even 200 patients a day at his Oto Clinic, and he was treating them for free. 

Steffen Zahn / Flickr via Creative Commons

In the Ozarks, caves serve as geological landmarks and a testament to the region's Karst topography. But some caves in the region are woven into the legends and folklore passed from one generation to the next.

One particular cave in the tiny village of Smallett, Missouri near Ava has been shrouded in mystery since the Civil War.

Today, the cave is on a farm off of Highway A. The farm belongs to the Sellars family.

Atchison Daily Globe

A woman’s alleged horseback ride through a small Ozarks boomtown in 1913 caught the attention of newspapers throughout the Midwest.

The Atchison Daily Globe in Kansas was one of the many newspapers to publish the shocking story of a bizarre night gone wrong in Old Horton, Missouri. The small community was in a part of the Mark Twain National Forest in Howell County near Cabool.

Here’s part of the newspaper’s account:

Barry County History Museum / Barry County History Museum

As we continue our series “Mysteries of the Hollers,” we now travel to Roaring River State Park, where a so-called Mountain Maid once resided in a cabin tucked away in the woods.

When people usually think of clairvoyants, they envision a woman at a carnival wearing a turban, staring ominously into a crystal ball. Jean Wallace, on the other hand was much more down to earth—though just as mysterious.

Jennifer Moore / KSMU

Near a winding, country highway, an old cemetery is nestled between a pasture of cattle and a corn field a few miles southeast of West Plains, Missouri. The Howell Valley Cemetery, originally known as the Langston Cemetery, dates back to shortly after the Civil War; several relatives of President George Washington are buried beneath these towering Oak trees.

The volunteer caretaker shows up in a rusty, green truck and steps out to greet me.

Around these parts, he’s known as Mike, or as “Dr. Moore,” a family doctor…but to me, he’s always been known as “Dad.”

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