There are many communities that claim the title of “Small-Town America” but few reflect it in the way that Mount Vernon does! From the historic downtown square where you find public gatherings on the lawn of the courthouse to the growing commercial business strip along the I-44 corridor less than 30 minutes from Springfield, Mount Vernon is a unique community, rich in history and rural values. Home to the annual Apple Butter Makin’ Days, this town of 5000 friendly residents welcome nearly ten times that amount when the downtown area is transformed each fall into one of the best arts and crafts festival for three fun-filled days. This Lawrence County seat was also home to one of the city's earliest and most famous teachers Harold Bell Wright, who later became the most popular writer of the day when he published"The Shepherd of the Hills". This classic book made the Branson area famous and featured many local residents, and the original shepherd of Mutton Hollow (James Marion Woods) lies buried in Williams Cemetery west of town. As with most small Missouri communities, war has shaped the town's modest rural roots. During the Civil War, both Confederate and Federal troops were headquartered in Mt. Vernon. One significant clash took place in 1862 when General Samuel Curtis' troops captured a rebel outpost in town, replacing the "stars and bars" with the "stars and stripes" from atop the county's courthouse. The incident has since been referred to as the "Rebel Flag Incident." More than 100 different regiments either camped or passed through Mt. Vernon during the war. Mt. Vernon residents and city officials are proud of their park facilities, seven in all. The largest park in the city can be found north of the downtown area. The "Underwood Spirit of 76" park complex features an Olympic-sized pool, four baseball fields, tennis courts and a "Mighty Mite" football field, along with a picnic area that winds along the tranquil waters of Williams Creek. Other Mt. Vernon parks and places of interest include: Jones Memorial and Chapel, built in 1961 as a "thank you" to the people by Lawrence K. Jones, is located northeast of town, adjacent to the golf course. The stone building houses a wedding chapel and meeting hall and the Lawrence County Historical Society Museum. The museum and cabin are open from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sundays from Memorial Day weekend through October and by appointment. Located just across from the "Underwood Spirit of '76" park is the Williams Creek Fishing Pond,which offers handicapped accessible fishing piers and a popular walking path as well as a spacious picnic area The site of Mt. Vernon's Veteran's Memorial, Wynne Park is located on the business loop and provides playground equipment and a picnic area. Named after the family who donated the land, Gibbs Park near the downtown Square offers a pavilion and various playground equipment for children. Nestled in big shade trees, the Gary Ewing Park is a perfect spot for family and community gatherings. It is located on the east side of the city's 9-hole golf course. Mt. Vernon is located along Interstate 44, midway between Springfield and Joplin. It is the gateway to Rt. 265, the scenic "Ozark Mountain Parkway" shortcut to the Branson area.
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Data Last Updated 2017-05-27
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