Fair Grove, Missouri

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Fair Grove, Missouri
Nickname(s): "The Old Mill Town"
Motto: "Laissez-faire"
Location in the state of Missouri
Location in the state of Missouri
Coordinates: 37°22′52″N 93°9′4″W / 37.38111°N 93.15111°W / 37.38111; -93.15111Coordinates: 37°22′52″N 93°9′4″W / 37.38111°N 93.15111°W / 37.38111; -93.15111
Country United States
State Missouri
County Greene
 • Mayor Tim Smith
 • Total 3.18 sq mi (8.24 km2)
 • Land 3.18 sq mi (8.24 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 1,211 ft (369 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 1,393
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 1,412
 • Density 438.1/sq mi (169.2/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 65648
Area code(s) 417
FIPS code 29-23338[4]
GNIS feature ID 0717724[5]
Website http://fairgrove.org

Fair Grove is a city in Greene County, Missouri, United States. The population was 1,393 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Springfield, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Fair Grove is located at 37°22′52″N 93°9′4″W / 37.38111°N 93.15111°W / 37.38111; -93.15111 (37.380992, -93.150996).[6] Fair Grove is located about 14 miles (23 km) north of Springfield, Missouri on Highway 65. MODOT upgraded the four lane Highway 65 south to Springfield, connecting with 4 lanes south to Branson and Buffalo, MO.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.18 square miles (8.24 km2), all of it land.[1]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 72
1970 431
1980 863 100.2%
1990 919 6.5%
2000 1,107 20.5%
2010 1,393 25.8%
Est. 2015 1,459 [7] 4.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 1,393 people, 529 households, and 389 families residing in the city. The population density was 438.1 inhabitants per square mile (169.2/km2). There were 580 housing units at an average density of 182.4 per square mile (70.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.4% White, 0.3% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population.

There were 529 households of which 40.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.5% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 26.5% were non-families. 23.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.08.

The median age in the city was 34.3 years. 29.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.3% were from 25 to 44; 23.1% were from 45 to 64; and 11.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.7% male and 51.3% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 1,107 people, 405 households, and 309 families residing in the city. The population density was 357.1 people per square mile (137.9/km²). There were 421 housing units at an average density of 135.8 per square mile (52.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.19% White, 0.18% Native American, 0.18% Asian, and 1.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.36% of the population.

There were 405 households out of which 43.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.5% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.5% were non-families. 20.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the city the population was spread out with 31.7% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 17.4% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city in 2000 was $36,761, and the median income for a family was $41,167. Males had a median income of $30,688 versus $21,447 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,765. About 6.4% of families and 6.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.1% of those under age 18 and 11.5% of those age 65 or over.


Tradition says that the little log school went by the name of the Duke School House from the fact that Chattam Duke was the teacher of the first term of school in the new district—this was on or about the year 1851.

Later on, the Methodist and Presbyterian people met to worship in the grove a few yards east of this house (if house it may be called with puncheon floor and grotesque furnishings) and there built an arbor and small house in which to worship.

At one of these meetings the question was asked "What shall we name this place?" and Uncle Willis Spence, as he was familiarly called, suggested that it be called Fair Grove after the name of the Methodist church of which he had been a member, in Randolph County, NC All acquiesced and the name has ever since remained. So the Grove part of the name was not a native part of Missouri, but of North Carolina.

In the early years of Fair Grove, the citizens of the place, and community—mostly Methodists and Presbyterians met to worship under a brush arbor about where a small house of worship was built and afterward a spacious arbor supported by numerous posts and covered with clapboards, served a few years.

On or about the year 1856, one John Ramey, a prosperous farmer, who owned a large farm which at this time is owned by Cal Potter, built a small store house on the lot now (1932) owned and occupied by the Farmers Exchange, became the first merchant of Fair Grove.

The town was noted for numerous blacksmiths.

In 1883, a very good and efficient buhr mill was built to grind both corn and wheat. After a few years they dispensed with the wheat buhr and installed the roller process of making flour which enabled them to turn out a high grade of merchantable flour and the proprietors for years and years had a very lucrative business.

Fair Grove at one time had a wool carding machine. This machine was housed in a small house immediately west of the Bell Hotel Lot. This factory was built by Paschal McMinn, father of the late Willis McMinn who established the first barbershop in town.

Fair Grove had an elegant cafe and a hotel second to none in the country. Mr. Bell proprietor, together with his good wife built through courteousness, an enviable business in their line. Their table filled with delicious viands is seldom surpassed by any hotel in large cities.

Mr. Bell has established a miniature zoo park which featured a pair each of deer, peafowl, white guineas, ring-tail coon, black coon, (a very rare animal) a white opossum, a groundhog, a pair of fox squirrels and several gray squirrels; also three exquisite houses for Martins which from their elevation overlooked the town.

Fair Grove from its early existence was noted for its commerciality, which increased as the years flitted by. The many customers of the several merchants carried away an immense amount of the necessaries of the home, while the several merchants furnished in such profuse quantities.[9]

Fair Grove Today[edit]

Consistent growth is the plan for the inhabitants that are proud of 1883 Boegel & Hine now the Wommack Mill, school, park, and small town style of living with a sense of community. There are nine subdivisions underway in the city limits. All city streets are paved and the newer subdivisions have curbs, gutters and sidewalks. The citizens passed a revenue bond issue in 2005 to expand the sewer system in planning for future growth. Fair Grove City Water has been established since 1968 and has two wells and two storage tanks. Water is chlorinated and tested as per DNR regulations. There are around 500 single-family homes, and several multi family buildings and duplexes. A Senior Citizen's Housing provides 1-bedroom apartments for 20. There are 43 businesses, including the historic district. These businesses consist of 3 banks (O'Bannon Bank; Central Bank of the Ozarks; Bank Of Bolivar) MS Propane, Family Pharmacy, MFA Oil, Dollar General, Kum and GO Convenience Store, O Reilly Auto Parts Store, Subway, Hilltop Pizza and BBQ, Summerfresh, and the local USPS. Six churches reside within the city limits.

The 3.131 square miles (8.11 km2) of city operates with an alderman-based government. Mayor Tim Smith and 6 aldermen (2 aldermen representing each of the 3 wards) meet twice a month, with city police services provided by the Fair Grove Police Department. A 39-acre (160,000 m2) city park in the center of town was purchased by the Park Department with plans to develop a hiking trail, soccer fields, baseball diamonds and a community building. A rambling creek runs through the center of the parkland. There is a part of the recreational area already established next to City Hall and the library with a sand volleyball court, basketball court, public restrooms, a toddler playground area and another playground for older children. The library was completed in 2000 and holds over 6,000 books.

Fair Grove R-X Public Schools[edit]

Fair Grove R-10 School District is a K-12 school district located at 132 N. Main Street in Fair Grove. The school district is again for the ninth year out of 10 and for the last four years Accredited with Distinction in Performance. This is the highest accreditation awarded by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The school enrollment is 1,140 students in the learning centers: grades PreK–4, 5–8, and 9–12. In addition to the basic courses, instruction is provided through classes of remediation, special needs, enrichment, college preparatory, advanced, vocational courses, area vocational school, dual credit and distant learning courses with nearby universities. This district far exceeds the educational opportunities required by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.[10]

In 2007, voters approved a tax bond for new construction projects and for renovation of current space. In the summer of 2008 the construction was completed on the new Middle School that was built in 2007 as a result of the tax bond. The New Middle School was opened for the 2008–09 school year. As of May 2013, Fair Grove completed a new FEMA storm shelter / safe room that the school and community can utilize during a tornado warning. The safe room was featured on the Today show on May 22, 2013 as reported by GoFairGrove.com, Fair Grove's main source for photos, news and information. Fair Grove made the national news due to part of the school being struck by a tornado a few years ago, and the steps they have taken since to help protect the school and its students.

Fair Grove Heritage Reunion[edit]

The most notable event that takes place in Fair Grove each year is the Fair Grove Heritage Reunion. This always takes place the last full weekend in September. This festival has its roots in the Fair Grove Arts and Crafts Festival which started in 1978. Dan and Betty Manning organized a gathering of 12 local craftsmen to sell their wares on the square.[11]

That first year, Granny Poke, in a bedraggled cookshack, fired up her wood stove to cook a batch of brown beans, poke greens, homemade fruit cobbler and cornbread. A short parade began the two-day event, with a small crowd attending. A few men of the town gathered at the mill to learn log splitting and shingle riving, and Sassafras tea, pawpaws and hickory nuts were available, just for the asking.

Since those early years, the organizers of that first festival have seen many changes and improvements. Today, the crowd estimate during the Fair Grove Heritage Reunion is 40,000 to 50,000 on Saturday and around 30,000 on Sunday. The number of booths have increased to almost 400, with many featuring demonstrations, such as weaving, bobbin lace and soap making. The two-day event still includes a parade and a church service in front of the historic mill.

Activities abound throughout the show area. Some of the favorites include corn grinding in the Boegel & Hine Flour Mill, working draft teams, an antique tractor rodeo, horse and mule obstacle course and wheat threshing. Primitive gasoline engines and steam-powered engines are furnished through the Early Day Gas Engines and Tractor Association, Branch 16 and The Ozark Steam Engine Association. Demonstrations of corn shredders and a corn shellers also occur throughout the day.[12]

The 2012 the Festival had an estimated 80,000 attendance. In 2007, the festival parade was the longest ever (over 3 hours long) in celebration of the City's 40th Anniversary.


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ Smith, Marilyn. "Fair Grove Historical Society Homepage". FGHPS, Inc. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  10. ^ Manning, Betty; Gene Rice. "City of Fair Grove Homepage". City of Fair Grove, Missouri. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  11. ^ "Fair Grove Heritage Reunion History". Missouri State University. Retrieved 2006-09-15. 
  12. ^ Smith, Marilyn. "History of Fair Grove Heritage Reunion". FGHPS, Inc. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 

External links[edit]