Joplin is the trade centre of a rich agricultural and fruit-growing district, but its growth has been chiefly due to its situation in one of the must productive zinc and lead regions in the country, for which it is the commercial centre.
In 1871 Joplin was laid out and incorporated as a town; in 1872 it and a rival town on the other side of Joplin creek were united under the name Union City; in 1873 Union City was chartered as a ctiy under the name Joplin; and in 1888 Joplin was chartered as a city of the third class.
The ores of the Joplin district, in the Ozark uplift in the Mississippi Valley, are remarkable in that they are specially adapted to mechanical concentration.
Galena is met with at all places where lead is mined; of localities which have yielded finely crystallized specimens the following may be selected for mention: Derbyshire, Alston in Cumberland, Laxey in the Isle of Man (where crystals measuring almost a foot across have been found), Neudorf in the Harz, Rossie in New York and Joplin in Missouri.
The zinc and lead of the Joplin district of Missouri are in the limestone of this system, and the corresponding limestone in some parts of Colorado, as at Leadville, is one of the horizons of rich ore.
The greatest lead district is in south-western Missouri nod south-eastern Kansas, known as the Joplin-Galena district after the names of the two cities that are its centre.
The deposits in the Joplin-Galena district were discovered in 1848, but attracted little attention for three decades.
It is served by the St Louis & San Francisco, the Missouri Pacific, and the St Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern railways, and is connected with Webb City and Joplin, Mo., and Galena, Kan., by the electric line of the Southwest Missouri railway.
Well-crystallized specimens are met with at many localities; for example, formerly at Wheal Towan (hence the name towanite, which has been applied to the species) in the St Agnes district of Cornwall, at Freiberg in Saxony, and Joplin, Missouri.
Jacob's Cavern (q.v.), near Pineville, McDonald county, disclosed on exploration skeletons of men and animals, rude implements, &c. Crystal Cave, near Joplin, Jasper county, has its entire surface lined with calcite crystals and scalenohedron formations, from I ft.
The so-called "Joplin district" of south-western Missouri and south-eastern Kansas-three-fourths of it being in Missouri-produces ninetenths of all the zinc mined in the United States.
The history of the St Francois, Granby and Joplin districts has been sensational.
Of the total output in 1900, three-fourths were made up by the output of St Louis ($233,629,733; of which $193,732,788 was from establishments under the "factory system"), Kansas City ($36,527,392; $23,588,653 being "factory product"), St Joseph ($31,690,736, including the product of some establishments outside the city limits; $11,361,939 being "factory product" within the city limits), and Springfield ($4,126,871; $3,433, 80 0 being "factory product"); for the same four cities in 1905 the proportion of the state's total product ($439,54 8, 957) manufactured under the "factory system" is smaller, and less than three-fourths was made up by the following seven cities: St Louis ($267,307,038), Kansas City ($35,573,049), St Joseph ($ 11, 573,7 2 0), Springfield ($5,293,315), Hannibal($ 4,44 2, 0 99), Jefferson City ($3,926,632), and Joplin ($3,006,203).
In the Joplin mining region a considerable amount of ores is smelted, but the bulk of the ores is sent into Kansas for smelting.
In addition to St Louis, 2 Kansas City and St Joseph, the leading cities in 1900 were Joplin, Springfield, Sedalia, Hannibal, Jefferson City, Carthage, Webb City and Moberly.
It is in the neighbourhood of a lead and zinc mining region, where surface lead was discovered in 1873 and systematic mining began in 1887; among the cities of the state it is second to Joplin in mineral importance, and has large ironworks and flour-mills; mining machinery also is manufactured.
Remember when Janis Joplin sang "Freedom's just another word for 'nothing left to lose'"?