In 1887 Monett (originally called Plymouth Junction) was established as a trading post and shipping center for the St. Louis–San Francisco (Frisco) Railway terminal. As this outpost quickly grew to become a vibrant center for trade and economy, Monett’s exports included cash crops, retail commercial products and small manufactured goods. The town developed into a diverse economy, with trade in livestock, apples, tomatoes, cigars, ice, razors and cutlery, poultry, dairy and the famous Ozark strawberries. In fact, Monett was known as the “Strawberry Capital of the Midwest” for many years.
Though the Frisco has long since left Monett, the original town structure remains. The historic buildings and landmarks stand in much the same place as they did in the late 19th century and some even provide the same goods and services. The Monett Opera Hall was constructed in 1893 for Edward S. Wilson, a new resident who moved to the community in 1888. This three-story brick building is still in existence today and serves as a testament to the vibrant culture of Monett’s past and present.
Currently Monett is a thriving small-town community with unique shops and businesses and a culture that demonstrates a continued commitment to celebrating our past while working towards a progressive future. To share in this city’s rich historic past, visit the Downtown Monett Commercial Historic District or Monett Historical Society to become fully immersed in the town’s culture, historic past and local residents.