Piedmont, Missouri

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Piedmont is a fourth-class city located in northwestern Wayne County in Southeast Missouri in the United States. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the city's population was 1,992; a 2007 estimate, however, showed the population to be 1,913. A part of the Ozarks Foothills Region, Piedmont is located on the convergence of State Highways 34 and 49. Piedmont, transliterated as "foot of the mountain," is named for its geographic placement at the foot of Clark's Mountain, a 1776-foot summit approximately two miles north of the town.

Contents

History

The history of what would become known as Piedmont dates back to the mid-1850s. Most of the early settlers in the area were farmers and merchants. Piedmont actually began as a homestead where James and William Daniel, two brothers born and raised as farmers who fought in the War with Mexico, purchased property along McKenzie Creek with the intention of raising crops. William's land was not suitable for farming, so he instead decided to open a general store. The store attracted many customers which in turn, along with the inexpensive land in the area, prompted many other businesses to come to the village known as Danielsville, named after the two brothers who made it possible. Later, a school called the Blue Moon School was established and also held the first church services in the area. A post office was established in 1855 along with a stage coach service running from Ironton to Doniphan. The village grew and prospered steadily over the next four years as the population reached near 300.

The arrival of the St. Louis Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad in 1871 played a major role in the development of Piedmont, bringing many supplies and workers and creating a demand for local timber.

Another major event in the history of Piedmont was the official opening of the Clearwater Lake Dam on Memorial Day, May 30, 1948. Construction of the project started in May 1940 and was completed by March 1942. However, World War II intervened and work stopped on the project, which was not fully completed until September 1958. Fed by the Black River, Clearwater Lake is a man-made lake located within six miles of the Piedmont city limits that controls flood waters in the winter and provides a major tourist attraction in the summer.

Piedmont is also known for its two nearby drive-in theaters, the Pine Hill Drive-In and the 21 Drive-In near Van Buren. These two drive-ins are among the 14 left in the state.[3]

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