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Joplin, Missouri is the largest city in Jasper County, although not the county seat. A portion of the city spills over into northern Newton County. Lead was discovered in the region prior to the Civil War, but mining operations didn’t develop until after the war. By the 1870s, there were mining camps throughout the region, and John C. Cox filed a plan for the city on the east side of the Joplin Creek Valley, naming it Joplin City for the spring and creek nearby, which had themselves been named for the Rev. Harris G. Joplin, who settled the area in 1840. Patrick Murphy filed a plan for a city on the other side of the valley, naming it Murphysburg. The two cities eventually merged to form Union City, but the merger was challenged in court and found to be illegal. Murphy suggested a combined city to be named Joplin, and the two cities merged again, forming the City of Joplin in 1873. Although the mining operations are no longer active, about seventy-five percent of the main part of the city has mine tunnels beneath it, some shafts as deep as a hundred feet. Several historic places in Joplin were demolished in an urban renewal effort in the 1960s and 1970s, but the city still has several buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The former New York Yankee outfielder and first baseman, Mickey Mantle, played with the Joplin Miners minor league baseball team in 1950. Joplin is surrounded by the smaller communities of Iron Gates, Tuckahoe, Prosperity, and Dennis Acres.


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