|— City —|
|Nickname(s): Live Entertainment Capital Of The World|
|• Mayor||Raeanne Presley|
|• City||20.80 sq mi (53.87 km2)|
|• Land||20.63 sq mi (53.43 km2)|
|• Water||0.17 sq mi (0.44 km2)|
|Elevation||778 ft (237 m)|
|• Estimate (2011)||10,739|
|• Density||509.9/sq mi (196.9/km2)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0739970|
|"The Live Entertainment Capital of the World"|
Branson is a city in Taney County in the U.S. state of Missouri. Branson is in the Ozark Mountains. The community was named after Reuben Branson, postmaster and operator of a general store in the area in the 1880s.
Branson has long been a popular destination for vacationers from Missouri and neighboring areas. The collection of entertainment theaters along 76 Country Boulevard (and to a lesser extent along Shepherd of the Hills Expressway) has increased Branson's popularity as a tourist destination. Branson now draws visitors from all regions of the country, mostly by car or bus.
In 1882, Reuben Branson opened a general store and post office in the area. Branson was formally incorporated in 1912 and construction of the Powersite Dam nearby on the White River which would form Lake Taneycomo was completed.
In 1894 William Henry Lynch bought Marble Cave (renamed Marvel Cave) and began charging visitors to tour it. Hugo and Mary Herschend leased the cave for 99 years in 1950 and began hosting square dances in it. The Herschend Family modernized the cave with electricity and concrete staircases, and in 1960, the Herschends opened Silver Dollar City which was a re-creation of a frontier town that featured five shops, a church and a log cabin with actors that played out the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys.
Harold Bell Wright published his novel about the Ozarks, The Shepherd of the Hills, in 1907. The Old Mill Theater began its first outdoor production based on the novel in 1960. The show known as The Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama & Homestead still runs today. It is also the home of Inspiration Tower, the Sons of the Pioneers show, and other attractions. The Harold Bell Wright Museum is located within The World's Largest Toy Museum complex.
Mayor of Branson for 12 years & entrepreneur Jim Owen built the 1st theater in 1934 on Commercial Street, originally called "The Hillbilly Theater" which began to attract people from far and wide to tour the area.
In 1962 Paul Henning, inspired by a Boy Scout camping trip to the Ozarks, created The Beverly Hillbillies which ran on first-run television until 1971. The first five episodes of Season 8 in 1969 are set in the Branson area when the Clampetts returned to their home. Henning later donated 1,534 acres (6.21 km2) for the Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area near Branson. He also donated the modified 1921 Oldsmobile truck used as the vehicle in the series to the College of the Ozarks where it is on display in the Ralph Foster Museum.
The Presley Family (no relation to Elvis Presley) became the first to move their show (Presleys' Country Jubilee) to Highway 76 in 1967, followed a year later by the Baldknobbers. Eventually Branson would have more than 50 theaters, most of them located on Highway 76.
In the early 1980s Chisai Child's Starlite Theater (not to be confused with the current theater by the same name) was one of the first to introduce stage sets, horn section, elaborate costume changes, and music outside of the traditional country music normally played. It helped to launch the careers of Shoji Tabuchi, and many others.
In 1983 Branson began its transformation into a major tourist attraction when the Roy Clark Celebrity Theatre opened and began to bring famous country music stars to Branson. Many of the performers who have had their own theaters in Branson first discovered Branson when they performed at this venue.
Also in 1983 the 7,500 seat Swiss Villa Amphitheatre opened in Lampe, Missouri. The outdoor amphitheatre brought in acts like Def Leppard, Lynyrd Skynyrd, REO Speedwagon, Steppenwolf, and Ozzy Osbourne. Closing in the early 2000s, it reopened in 2010 as the Black Oak Mountain Amphitheatre.
In 1987, Box Car Willie became the first internationally known entertainer to purchase a theater in Branson and have a permanent performance schedule there.
In 1989, Shoji Tabuchi opened his first theater in Branson (converting the Ozarks Auto Museum on West 76 Highway into a theater). He then built a new theater on Shepherd of the Hills Expressway in 1990; while Mel Tillis moved into Shoji's old theater. In 1990-1991 several nationally known stars such as Jim Stafford, Ray Stevens, Mickey Gilley, and Moe Bandy opened their own theaters. Along with these national stars many home-grown shows also had theaters. The Lowe Family featured their show and hosted nationally known stars like Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Vern Gosdin, Waylon Jennings, and others. 76 Music Hall (now known as the Grand Country Music Hall) became the first theater to have three different shows a day performing in different time slots. Buck Trent became the first nationally known star to open a morning show.
The increasing number of theaters and other attractions opening in Branson drew the attention of "60 Minutes", which aired an episode about Branson on December 8, 1991, and called Branson the "live music capital of the entire universe".
Andy Williams, built his theater in Branson, opening on May 1, 1992, as the Moon River Theatre.
In 1998 the Acrobats of China arrived in Branson making them one of the first international shows to call Branson home. They opened their theatre, the New Shanghai Theatre, in 2005. In 2006 Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theatre opened and is the most recent new theater to be built on W. 76 Hwy. Branson has continued to add theaters (the most recent new theater is Sight & Sound Theatres) and shows; and today refers to itself as "the live music show capital of the world".
Theatres in the Branson area currently include the Shoji Tabuchi Theatre, New Shanghai Theatre, Jim Stafford Theatre, Hughes Brothers Theatre, Kirby VanBurch Theatre, Mickey Gilley Theatre, RFD-TV The Theatre (Buck Trent continues to perform his morning show at this theater), Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theatre (home to Legends In Concert and The Bretts), Baldknobbers' Jamboree Theatre, Sight & Sound Theatres, Hamner Barber Theater, God and Country Theatres, Dutton Family Theatre, Grand Country Music Hall, Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama, Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, The Mansion, Oak Ridge Boys Theatre, Pierce Arrow Theatre, Showboat Branson Belle, Yakov Smirnoff Theatre, Clay Cooper Theatre, Presleys' Country Jubilee Theatre, Black Oak Amphitheatre, Caravelle Theatre, White House Theatre, Branson Variety Theatre, Branson IMAX Little Opry Theatre, Circle B at Branson Central, and the Americana Theatre.
In the motion picture, She's Out of My League the family is getting ready to go on vacation to Branson, and they invite the new couple, provided they wear bright yellow sweatshirts emblazoned with "Branson Bound."
The closest commercial airport is the newly developed Branson Airport which opened in May 2009, constructed at an originally projected cost of $155 million on land formerly owned by Tennessee Ernie Ford. This airport is privately owned, and it is thought to be the largest privately owned commercial airport in the United States. Its construction involved flattening the tops of a series of Ozark Mountains and is thought to be the largest earth moving project in the history of the state. Previously, the closest commercial airport was Springfield-Branson National Airport 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Branson, owned by the City of Springfield.
2012 Tornado 
Just before 1 a.m. Wednesday February 29, 2012, the city of Branson sustained damage from an EF-2 tornado in the 2012 Leap Day tornado outbreak. One death was reported, and at least 37 injuries were reported, most being just cuts and bruises. Most of the tourist attractions and businesses were undamaged and remained open after the storm, although at least 11 buildings suffered more than $3 million in total damage. As of November 2012, most of the damage was repaired.  Mary Jane Rice a spokeswoman for Branson Area Chamber of Commerce told the AP that February is generally a slow time for business and most of the damage would be cleaned up in the next few days. The tornado followed a path from Kimberling City, Missouri across Table Rock Lake and along the entertainment strip Missouri Route 76 before hitting the downtown area where it blew out or cracked windows in 219 of the hotel rooms in the 12-story/295 room Hilton Branson Convention Center. The tornado extensively damaged three of Branson’s 50-plus theatres — (Americana Theater, Branson Variety Theater and Dick Clarks’ American Bandstand Theater) and there was damage to portions of Branson Landing on Lake Taneycomo and the Veterans Memorial Museum. Vehicles at the Ride the Ducks water/land attraction were flipped over, but officials said they were not damaged enough to be put out of service Other towns were also heavily damaged from the same weather system that hit Branson, including Harrisburg, Illinois which was hit by an EF-4 tornado that killed 8 people.
Other attractions 
Besides the numerous entertainment theaters for which Branson is famous, other local attractions include the Hollywood Wax Museum, Silver Dollar City, White Water, Waltzing Waters, Mount Pleasant Winery, Stone Hill Winery, Ride the Ducks, Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, Ziplines, Cave Tours, National Tiger Sanctuary, Go-Karts, Mini Golf, Horseback Rides, Butterfly Palace, and Rainforest Adventure. Ripley's Odditorium is housed in a building that has been made to look as if it is cracked wide open by an earthquake or other disaster, while the Titanic Museum is a half-scale replica of the famous ship and iceberg.
Branson Landing opened in the summer of 2006 on the Lake Taneycomo waterfront in downtown Branson. The lakefront project includes retail space with Bass Pro Shops and Belk as anchors in an outdoor shopping mall of stores and restaurants and features a Hilton Hotel. The new Branson Convention Center, situated between the Landing and historic downtown Branson, opened September 7, 2007.
The Branson Scenic Railway is located in the old depot, across from Branson Landing.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.80 square miles (53.87 km2), of which, 20.63 square miles (53.43 km2) is land and 0.17 square miles (0.44 km2) is water.
2010 census 
As of the census of 2010, there were 10,520 people, 4,688 households, and 2,695 families residing in the city. The population density was 509.9 inhabitants per square mile (196.9 /km2). There were 8,599 housing units at an average density of 416.8 per square mile (160.9 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.0% White, 2.0% African American, 0.9% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.9% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.8% of the population.
There were 4,688 households out of which 23.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.5% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.77.
The median age in the city was 41.2 years. 18.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.7% were from 25 to 44; 25.6% were from 45 to 64; and 19.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.9% male and 52.1% female.
2000 census 
As of the 2000 census, there were 6,050 people, 2,701 households, and 1,661 families residing in the city. The population density was 374.0 people per square mile (144.4/km²). There were 3,366 housing units at an average density of 208.1 per square mile (80.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.50% White, 0.84% African American, 0.86% Native American, 0.71% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.47% from other races, and 1.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.26% of the population.
There were 2,701 households out of which 24.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.5% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.76.
In the city the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 27.0% from 45 to 64, and 20.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 86.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,997, and the median income for a family was $43,145. Males had a median income of $31,769 versus $21,223 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,461. 12.1% of the population and 9.7% of families were below the poverty line. 15.6% of those under the age of 18 and 17.0% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
List of entertainers associated with Branson 
- Shoji Tabuchi
- Buck Trent
- Mabe Family - The Baldknobbers Jamboree
- Jim Stafford
- Acrobats of China
- Moe Bandy
- Jim Barber
- Hughes Brothers
- Barbara Fairchild
- Mickey Gilley
- Lennon Sisters
- Andy Williams
- Boxcar Willie
- Kirby Van Burch
- Dino Kartsonakis
- Legends In Concert
- Glen Campbell
- Johnny Cash
- June Carter Cash
- Dick Clark
- Petula Clark
- Roy Clark
- The Comets
- John Davidson
- Phyllis Diller
- Robert Goulet
- Gladys Knight
- Oak Ridge Boys
- Presley Family
- Yakov Smirnoff
- Ray Stevens
- Mel Tillis
- Bobby Vinton
- Tony Orlando
- Osmond Family
- Cristy Lane
- Brenda Lee
- Norman Bergen
- Shari Lewis
- Rich Little
- Barbara Mandrell
- Irlene Mandrell
- Louise Mandrell
- Wayne Newton
- Gary S. Paxton
- Charley Pride
- Kenny Rogers
- Captain and Tennille
- David Silverman
- Conlan Carter
- Lawrence Welk
- Pat Boone
- Muse Watson
- Lee Greenwood
- Jim Owen
- Branson Tri-Lakes News - A twice-weekly newspaper that traces its roots back more than 100 years to the oldest publications in the Branson area.
Pop Culture 
- ""Live Entertainment Capital" Branson, Missouri.". Branson Tourism Center.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Branson Ozark Mountain Country is all About Branson". Branson-ozark-mountain-country.com. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- "Branson Shows". Branson Entertainment. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- "The Branson Story". Retrieved 30 August 2010.
- "Paul Henning". The Independent (London). 19 April 2005.
- Dale Cox. "Ruth and Paul Henning Conservation Area - Branson, Missouri". Exploresouthernhistory.com. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- "Shoji Tabuchi Biography". Musicianguide.com. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- "History of the Branson Entertainment Phenomenon". Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- "History of the Branson Entertainment Phenomenon". Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- "Shows In Branson". Retrieved 10 August 2012. Text "Theatres" ignored (help)
- Like many tourists, movie's Pittsburghers are Branson-bound
- "Powerful storms sweep Midwest, damaging Branson theater district and killing at least 9". Retrieved 29 February 2012.[dead link]
- "Tornado injures at least 33 in Branson, causes major damage". Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- "Tornado tears through country music town of Branson, Mo.". USA Today. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- Posted by Ashley (2011-12-30). "Branson, Missouri Travel Guide: Branson Takes Hit from Major Storm; Many Businesses Unaffected". Travelguide.reservebranson.com. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- "Nixon touring storm-damaged areas by Branson, Cassville | Springfield News-Leader". News-Leader.com. Retrieved 2012-02-29. Text "head " ignored (help)
- "EF-2 Tornado Confirmed; Debris Cleanup Begins in Stone, Taney Counties". Ozarksfirst.com. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- "Annual U.S. Killer Tornado Statistics". Storm Prediction Center. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Branson, Missouri|
- City of Branson
- Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Official Tourism Web Site
- Historic maps of Branson in the Sanborn Maps of Missouri Collection at the University of Missouri
- Official website for The League of Branson Theatre Owners & Show Producers (The Branson Show League)