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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 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.
Spring Peepers (By Ben Dalton). “Spring peepers are some of the most iconic frogs of the Ozarks. These small tree frogs are given the scientific name Pseudacris crucifer.” To read more, Click Here!
Branson Past & Present. “Branson is a town constantly seeking definition — and redefinition. Is hillbilly culture real? Is the term “hillbilly” a compliment or an insult? Is Branson a cultural hub of the Ozark Mountains? Or is the town simply a regional tourist trap?” To read more, Click Here!
Wild Plums. “If the thicket happens to be a good one, the plums will be syrupy sweet with just a twinge of sour, pulpy bite. All the flavors of rose blossom scent, summer sun and autumn gold infused in a single, sweet berry.” To read more, Click Here!
Beaver Bridge. “Countless travelers have journeyed across this picturesque, one-lane bridge, the beautiful Little Golden Gate of the Ozarks.” To read more, Click Here!
Jim Barrett. “Many well-meaning mountain folk hated the loss of the river-bottom farm lands, feared the coming of land speculators, the inundation of cemeteries, schools, homes and beloved fishing spots. In the threat of a monster lake, the hill folk saw an end to their way of life.” To read more, Click Here!
Bluegrass Town. “A special kind of magic makes its way beneath a dark Carolina sky. Warm, Atlantic-tinged breezes flow through the canyon-like avenues of downtown Raleigh.” To read more, Click Here!