Seymour, Missouri

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Seymour is a city in Webster County, Missouri, United States. The population was 1,834 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Springfield, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The City of Seymour has an alderman/mayor government structure. The current mayor of Seymour is Jerry Miller. The current Chief of Police is Mike Ross. Seymour has two grocery stores, three gas stations, two banks, a YMCA, one high school, two elementary schools and one middle school, a modern public library, and a town museum is in the works. Seymour has an active Lions Club, Arts Council and a Masonic Lodge.

Seymour has an award-winning weekly newspaper whose office is located on the west side of the town square; the Webster County Citizen has won more than 240 national and state awards for journalism excellence since 1998. The newspaper's editor and publisher is Dan Wehmer, who came to the community in 1996.

The Seymour Merchants Association holds an annual Apple Festival the second weekend of every September. Crowds of up to 30,000 people descend on the town to buy handmade crafts and listen to live gospel and country music. There is still an apple orchard in Seymour.

Outside of Seymour is a large Old Order [Amish] Community. The local McDonald’s, Bank, Post Office Price Cutter, and Seymour Discount Grocery and several other businesses have hitching post for Amish Buggies.

The Town has three murals painted on building sides on the square, one depicts rolling hills of the surrounding Ozarks, and another depicts the former train depot in 1881.

Contents

History

Seymour was incorporated in 1881 when the Frisco Railroad was built. The land the town was built on was a marsh. The town's square originally had dirt streets. In 1904 the Seymour area was a leading producer of apples in the state. A post Civil War house was built by Col. Thomas C. Love north of town, the farm had one of the largest apple orchards in the state, giving Seymour its nickname "Land of the Big Red Apple". The Col. Thomas C. Love House is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1941 Harold Owen opened a theater on the square, it was open and closed through the years; but currently is open in the winter time when the still operating Owen Drive-In is closed for the winter. The Owen Drive-In used to accommodate small plane pilots who could fly into the theater and watch a movie. Harold Owen still operates the Drive-In during the summer and fall.

In the early 1960s, U.S. Highway 60 ran through the middle of town. In Missouri, Highway 60 runs from the Illinois state line near Charleston, in the bootheel, across the state to the Oklahoma state line near Neosho, on the Ozarks plateau. At that time, also, the Frisco railroad ran through town, providing both passenger and freight service to Seymour, including less-than-car-load service. The Frisco was absorbed by the Burlington Northern in 1980. The old Frisco railroad depot has long since been torn down.

In the early 1960s, most of the business district was centered around the public square. There were three major grocery stores in Seymour--White's, which was connected with a general store, and owned by Charles White; the MFA supermarket, which was part of the MFA complex (feed and agriculture, hardware and groceries); the MFA general manager was Sherman Eddings, and two of the ladies who worked in the office were Dorothy Herman and Lucille Brown; and Williams', which was owned by the Williams family, who also had a variety store. There was a feed mill, Marlin Milling, which was owned by the Marlin family. Alvin Marlin had been a paratrooper in World War II and had jumped into Normandy on D-Day. Mr. Pennington owned an Oklahoma Tire and Supply store. Paul Hunter ran the Western Auto Store. The movie theater was owned by the Owen family. The local newspaper, the "Webster County Citizen," was owned and run by Joe Stanard. Miller's cafe was on the square, as was a pool hall. Ron Durnford owned an oil company and also a service station, which was on highway 60. An independent auto garage was owned by Wilson Kale (sp?) and Donnie Fann. Joe Criswell owned and ran the local dry cleaners, which was a short way out of the main town on BB Highway.

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