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Founded as Militia Springs in 1871, Ava, Missouri was renamed in 1881, and incorporated in 1908. Located in the Missouri Ozarks, within the Salem Plateau, Ava is the only incorporated city in Douglas County, and the county seat. The area was settled in the 1830s, and became the location of an encampment of Union soldiers or Missouri militia during the American Civil War. During the war, there was an ongoing dispute between Vera Cruz and Arno as to which community would serve as the county seat. The people of Militia Springs constructed a court house building and moved the records there as a compromise. That building was burned and rebuilt in 1873, only to be burned again in 1886 and replaced in 1888. The current courthouse building was built in 1937. Ava is south of Bryant, west of Brushyknob, north of Squires, and southeast of Tigris and Dogwood.

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