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Situated in Ninevah Township, Adair County, Missouri, Novinger began as a coal mining and railroad town in 1878, after the Quincy, Missouri & Pacific Railroad extended its track to the area. Named for its founder, John C. Novinger, a post office was established in 1879, and the first shaft coal mine was in operation by 1883. Many of its early settlers were of Welsh, German, Scots-Irish, Italian, and Balkan extraction, who came for work in the mining operations, which propelled Novinger to incorporate as a city in 1901. However, the Great Depression and the switch to gas and electric heat in American homes greatly depressed the city’s economy following World War II. Its railroads were closed by 1950, and its last mine, the Billy Creek Coal Mine, closed in 1966. The city has long been plagued by flooding of the Chariton River, particularly in its early years before the US Army Corps of Engineers channelized the river, but the city has been visited by floods as recently as 2008 and, in 2010, much of its business district, including the former city hall and senior citizen center, were destroyed by fire. Novinger is south of Ninevah, northwest of Kirksville, east of Green Castle and Green City, and north of Youngstown.



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