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The city of Advance is in northern Stoddard County, in southeastern Missouri. The current city was established during the building of the Old Frisco Railroad in the 1880s. Prior to that, Captain W.H. Whitwell, a veteran of the Mexican War, had contributed sixty acres to be used as a town site. First known as Lakeville, probably because the area was covered in lakes and swamp land, the town was originally located a short distance from its current site. A post office opened in Lakeville in 1858. When the railroad was completed in 1882, it had bypassed Lakeville. Wanting to be nearer to the railroad, the townspeople moved, some settling at Toga to the north, while another group moved west to establish a new community, which they called Advance. The original town of Lakeville died when its post office closed in 1889, and Toga was not successful as as a town, although a settlement continues there. Advance is located along Missouri Highways 91 and 25, southwest of Toga, Green Cox and Arbor, southeast of Dongola and Schlatitz, and northwest of Bell City.



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