Black Oak Ridge, Missouri Ozarks

Ozarks’ premier online magazine welcomes you!

These old hills are home to a people. A people defined by a region — a people who have come to define that region. It is easy to understand plateaus and highlands, rivers, boundaries. It is not so easy to understand a people, a culture, a sensibility. These old hills are rugged. Long ago, they attracted the desperate, the independent. The foolish.

Frenchman from New Orleans. Early British pioneers. Poor Irish immigrants, then black-dirt farmers from Indiana and Illinois. Southerners to establish Missouri as a slave state. Unionists from Ohio and Iowa. German immigrants by the scores, with high-minded sensibilities, organizational skills and a desire to escape political persecution in Europe. The foolish died quickly or moved away. The independent flourished.

The foolish died quickly or moved away.

The depraved found safety — and often became more depraved.

In the 19th century, the Ozarks were a lonely, dangerous place. And what little law and order existed before the ravages of war, there was none after. Stories of deadly bushwhackers, baldknobbers and just plain-out-and-out-coldblooded killers make for romantic legends today. It wasn’t too romantic at the time.

How would you like to walk to school one morning and find the body of a neighbor hanging from a tree? Or work from dawn ’till dusk for months, only to see locust clouds descend over the hills, eating crops, grass, even fenceposts?

Life in these hills was hard.

Out of that hardness was bred a people — a people defined as stalwart, laconic, distrustful. A people self-reliant. To define the Ozark region by its culture? Some would say these peoples are a microcosm of all that makes the United States what it is. This State of the Ozarks.

— Joshua Heston, editor April 26, 2009

State of the Ozarks is one of the definitive websites of the Ozarks.

Not a government sponsored travel site nor a local advertisement page, StateoftheOzarks is privately owned and dedicated to the history, culture and the people of the Ozarks.

The Ozarks region has long been a respected place where the American Heartland still has a voice. Where time runs a little slower, the folks are friendlier, and rivers a bit cleaner. A place that stands in book end answer to elite Eastern sensibilities and the flash of LA culture.

The Ozarks are still here. And we’re still proud of that.

Celebrate the Ozarks in Your Inbox!

Every week, we celebrate the Ozarks with a brand-new issue of State of the Ozarks Weekly, cram packed with articles and topped off with a traditional recipe.

Download this week's issue! Check out Goin’ to the County Fair, Opening for the Name Band, Helpful & Related Links, and Peach Superbe!

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10/5/08, Black Oak Ridge. Photo credit, Joshua Heston. Location: Stone County, Missouri

From Shepherd of the Hills

“And this way runs the trail that lies along the higher, sunlit hills where those who journey see afar and the light lingers even when the day is done.”

— Harold Bell Wright, 1907

Check out these Recent Articles:

Station Inn

The Weird, Wonderful Bluegrass Art of Tim Lee Lee’s work is a provocative combination of surrealist curves, whimsical circus art, pop culture references, all with a dark, back-hills feel and a supernaturally macabre edge...” To read more, Click Here!

Station Inn

Homeschool Bluegrass by Maribeth Samenus-Chambers. “‘It’s not about winnings. It’s about connections made.’ So spoke D.A. Callaway in his measured tone to the crowd at the Silver Dollar City Youth in Bluegrass competition back in May....” To read more, Click Here!

Black Oak Grill

Made from Scratch: Black Oak Grill. The mango-habanero buffalo wings’ sauce is surprising in its simplicity: “We grill habanero peppers, take fresh mangos, pulp them, then pureé the peppers and mango pulp together,” details Wallace. To read more, Click Here!

Station Inn

A Songwriter’s Journey by Kelli Kingrey-Courtney. “Our first stop was the Station Inn. We got front-row seats. The Station Inn is a very small venue so front-row seats are a big deal...” To read more, Click Here!

Black Snakes

Black Rat Snake by Ben Dalton. “One of my mother’s earliest childhood memories — and one of her most vivid — is of an encounter with a black rat snake...” To read more, Click Here!

Ozark County Fairs

Goin’ to the County Fair. “Growin up in rural Crawford County Missouri, one of things we youngin’s looked forward to was fair time....” To read more, Click Here!

Ozark Magic & Hoodoo

Ozark Magic & Hoodoo. “Our rational, scientific world filled with textbook knowledge and an overabundance of electronic equipment has little room for the unknown or inexplicable....” To read more, Click Here!

Chinkapin Oak Christy Sutherland

Christy Sutherland of Nashville, TN

Christy Sutherland Visits with State of the Ozarks!

(Branson MO) Sutherland, Nashville gospel music recording artist, accompanied with husband and manager Matt Dudney, recently sang at Christian Action Ministries’ annual competition, concert and fundraiser. “We travel full time around the country sharing the hope and love of Jesus Christ,” Sutherland told StateoftheOzarks in the beautiful lobby of Sight & Sound Theatre.

Check out the whole interview by clicking PLAY below:

For more information, be sure to visit Christy

September 24, 2014

KIIC Thunder Country 96.7 FM!

Beth Hunter & Josh Heston

Beth Hunter and Josh Heston, hamming it up on the Classic Café!

At noon every third Friday of the month, StateoftheOzarks editor Joshua Heston is guest on the Classic Café Radio Show with none other than the talented and energetic Beth Hunter of KIIC Thunder Country (96.7FM) broadcasting from beautiful, historic downtown Albia, Iowa.

KIIC is a powerful local radio station broadcasting over an immense swath of southern Iowa and into downtown Des Moines. With a strong focus on classic country, great sports coverage and live weather reports, KIIC is the radio station southern Iowans turn to on a daily basis.

Listen live to this great, local radio station showcasing the best in truly classic country music! Click here now!

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Baldknobber Vigilantes

(Kirbyville, MO) The early spring day [believed to be April 5, 1885] dawned bright and clear. The meeting grounds were on top of Snapp's Bald, a great treeless peak located about two miles northwest of Kirbyville, a village of approximately five miles southwest of Forsyth and not far from the Kinney home.

"Barren of timber and underbrush, the spot had been selected because sentries could insure the secrecy and security of the proceedings. This particular peak commanded a view of the countryside that discouraged interlopers from drawing nearer than a half mile."

From Baldknobbers: Vigilantes on the Ozark Frontier, 1988.

State of the Ozarks

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Celebrating & Preserving the Ozarks