Lake Taneycomo in Branson,
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In 1882 an entrepreneur
named Ruben Branson opened the first general store and post office as
settlers began to come to the area seeking and finding plentiful game
and fertile land. The area began to thrive because of the great
fishing in the White River. 1895 saw the beginning of a
new agricultural crop - tomatoes thrived here
and soon a cannery was built in nearby Stone County. The many
cans of tomatoes were loaded on to Paddle Wheel boats on the White
River, the start of an industry that would last for over 75 years.
early 1900s, there were many farms near the Branson Post Office, as
well as a handle factory, a tobacco barn, cotton gin, and a steamboat
landing at the waterfront. The tobacco industry was the largest
agricultural crop of the area and would continue to be so until 1959
when the tobacco farms became the bottom of the newly formed Table
Rock Lake. The first school sat high upon the hill overlooking
what is now downtown Branson. The settlement took the name of
its first postmaster until 1901, when the second postmaster, named
William Hawking, changed the name of the post office to Lucia.
In 1903 the completion of
the Iron Mountain and Southern railroad that would soon allow visitors
from all over to come and explore the untouched and unspoiled beauty
of the Branson area. The Railroad
Company began working below the Lucia Post Office on right of ways and
other land acquired by the railroad. A portion of the property
was soon designated for a town and placed under the direction of
Charles Fulbright, the president of the Branson Town Company.
Fulbright laid out and filed the town plot of Branson on October 26,
1903. Unfortunately, another town plot for Lucia had been filed
by a man named B. B. Price on October 2, 1903. By the end of
November, Mr. Fulbright owned both town sites, and the name of Branson
Branson boasted a General Store, two
a rooming house, two doctors and a couple of other businesses. The
same year would also see the arrival of Branson's first telephone line
In late 1905 gained its first newspaper -
The Branson Echo. The following year, the first regular
passenger train arrived in Branson carrying business men, speculators
and tourists. With the opening of the "Maine Fishing and Hunting
Lodge", the Lynch sisters giving tours of Marvel Cave, and float and
fishing trips becoming common, Branson soon became a tourist town.
Kansas minister, was drawn to
Branson because of his
health. Afflicted with tuberculosis he had begun to visit every
summer, stopping among the hill folks, exploring
Marvel Cave, and enjoying the
untouched setting of the area.
He was so impressed with the people and
natural beauty of the area that he wrote his best selling book "Shepherd
of the Hills," which upon it's publishing in 1907, drew thousands of new
visitors to the Branson.
incorporated on April 1, 1912, having some 1,200 residents at the time.
Catering to its newfound tourist industry, other businesses soon emerged
such as a commercial ice plant, a soft drink bottling plant, a candy
factory, and an ice cream factory next to the waterfront.