In the foreground, the Webb City Hotel faces west from the intersection of Webb and Joplin (Broadway) streets. (It’s the site today of the Route 66 Tourist Information Center.) Webb City Hall was on the northwest corner of Allen (Main) and Joplin (Broadway) streets. This photo is from the Easley photograph collection of 1877.

From the 3rd floor
of the Webb City Public Library

Old News

Looking back at the early years of Webb City

Webb City Area Genealogical Society

May 29, 2024

This 1877 stereoview shows the Center Creek Mining Company’s pump No. 2 in Webb City.

As we near the city’s 150th anniversary in 2026, we would like to take a look at part of our early history. John C. Webb platted the original town of Webb City in July 1875. To find out more about the happenings here during that time we have several resources we can refer to, such as early newspapers.

Editions of late 1800s Webb City newspapers are no longer in existence with the exception of 56 pages of The New Century, a newspaper that was published in 1877. This early newspaper mainly contained advertisements from local vendors and articles from various places in the United States. A column named “Local Department” gives some accounts of life in Webb City and Carterville, but the majority of the content is from other regions.

With more and more old newspapers being added online we now are able to find information about our city that was published in other areas of the country.

December 22, 1876
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Webb City has at present about 2,000 inhabitants, whose natural wants are supplied, inclusive of such commodities as grocers, furniture, clothing, boots and shoes, hardware, lumber, etc. from thirty stores.

In one week about fifty dwellings were erected, and among these some substantial two-story frames, which today are well painted and enclosed with picket fences.

January 5, 1877
The New Century

It is but proper we should let the public know something in relation to the establishment and wonderful growth of Webb City.

This place takes its name from the original founder of the town, who now resides here, and has given to it the impetus which has so far, astonished every body in the community and attracted so much attention of businessmen, and capitalists from various portions of the United States. Situated upon a beautiful high rolling prairie, about two miles and a half south of the Missouri and Western Rail Road, it presents a commanding view from all parts of the compass.

February 9, 1877
Carthage Banner

We took a trip over to the flourishing young city and found all which had been written and said of its rapid growth and prosperity are correct. Hundreds of shafts were visible on all sides, and miners hard at work digging out the bright mineral. Carpenters were busily at work erecting dwelling and business houses, for which the future occupants are anxiously awaiting completion; a handsome school house has been erected and will soon be ready for use. Webb City and Carterville will have a population of 5,000 souls in less than two years from the present time.

Gazetter and Business Directory

Webb City is another town of considerable importance, and is an outgrowth of the mining interests. Its population is now over 2,200, and is located on the Joplin branch of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway, five miles from Joplin. It contains one extensive and several smaller zinc crushers, a large lead smelter, and all of the mercantile and smaller industries which are added from time to time to a thriving town.

October 19, 1882
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Carterville and Webb City are two mining towns about one-half mile apart. Each is chartered as a city of the fourth class and has separate ordinances. Webb City is generally better known from home on account of having all the railroad depots named for Webb City, and of having had a newspaper for three years before Carterville had one. Our mines are mostly in and near Carterville. There has been some enmity between these two cities, but this is now believed to be a thing of the past.

The Webb City Area Genealogical Society has subscriptions to and We also have bound copies of The Webb City Sentinel for public use. If you are interested in viewing old newspapers please visit us on the third floor of the Webb City Library. Our hours are Monday-Friday 12:00-4:00, Saturday 10:00-2:00.

The camera is pointed north at Webb City.

Webb City Area Genealogical Society

WCAGS members staff the Genealogy Room on the third floor of the Webb City Public Library. Current hours are noon to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Meetings are held at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month in the Genealogy Room.

Everything you want to know about Jasper County Missouri Schools is available at a site compiled by Webb City Area Genealogical Society member Kathy Sidenstricker.