Quality of Life
As one of Missouri’s fastest-growing counties, Stone County’s secret is out. More and more people are discovering its beautiful Ozark Mountain surroundings, neighborly small towns, and laid-back lifestyle. Southern Stone County’s communities such as Kimberling City, Indian Point, Branson West, Cape Fair, and the Baxter / Lampe area offer access to beautiful Table Rock Lake. Central and northern towns and villages such as Galena, Hurley, and Crane feature rivers, streams, and rolling pastures among the hills.
Many people discover the area when they vacation in this captivating location. They come to the area to enjoy Table Rock Lake and its proximity to one of America’s most popular family tourism destinations, Branson. Many visitors come back to stay. They buy or build their dream home, raise their families and continue their careers, or they retire in this recreation-rich environment. Each of the four seasons in the Ozarks brings its own color palette to the countryside. Generally, mild winters make the Stone County area ideal for people who want to escape the harsh northern climate.
Homes are readily available in all sizes and types. They have one thing in common, and that’s country living. There’s no such thing as “urban” in Stone County. About 78 percent of residents live outside the corporate limits of the small towns.
With a county population of 28,658 in 2000, that’s 50 percent more than Stone County’s 1990 population of 19,078 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Rapid growth still leaves plenty of “elbow room” at an average of 62 persons per square mile.
Jobs are plentiful in Stone County’s tourism industry. The area’s largest employer, Silver Dollar City, offers seasonal positions to people of all ages at the famous theme park and related businesses. Construction-related employment is also plentiful to keep pace with the rapid construction of homes. Several businesses considered “light” industry are located with the county’s boundaries, and other environmentally compatible industries are invited in the ongoing process of economic development.
The modest cost of living, good schools, effective law enforcement, convenient access to health care, active volunteer opportunities, plenty of civic and religious organizations, and unlimited recreational features appeal to families and retirees who consider Stone County as their next home.
A great attraction to potential residents is Stone County’s rural atmosphere and its proximity to the amenities found in much larger towns. Stone County offers all the expected services and conveniences for residents as well as many thousands of visitors each year. Less than an hour away is Springfield, Missouri’s third largest city. Springfield’s educational and cultural features balance the essential services it offers such as transportation modes, major hospitals,thriving retail, and manufacturing industries.
Stone County is also within easy reach of the rapidly growing Springdale / Bentonville / Fayetteville area of Northwest Arkansas, and the quaint tourist town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
History of Kimberling City, MO
Kimberling City’s custom road signs are extra-large welcomes to town as residents and visitors approach from the north and south on Mo. 13. The signs may be an indicator of the energy level in Kimberling City, where the population grew more than 40 percent in the last decade of the 1900s.
Founded in 1959 by Springfield businessman John Q. Hammons, this lakeside town is a boater’s paradise with large marinas, boat and equipment dealers and miles and miles of Table Rock Lake stretching out from the shores. Hammons built the first business building which is part of Kimberling City Shopping Center. More business buildings and residential areas followed quickly. A golf course, bowling lanes, churches, resorts and many other small businesses were added in the 1960s. The post office opened in 1963, according to the Stone County Historical Society.
Real Estate offices sprang up around Kimberling City and brought families and retirees to town and outlying neighborhoods. Census figures were unavailable for the town until 1980 when 1,285 residents were counted. By 1990, there were 1,590 residents. In 2000, Kimberling City is the largest town in Stone County with 2,253 residents. The five-mile corridor along Mo. 13 from Branson West to Kimberling City is by far the densest commercial area in Stone County. With the incorporated commercial area of Stoneridge located between the two cities, this area contains the greatest concentration of retail goods, medical and other services. Lake roads along the Mo. 13 corridor between Kimberling City and Branson West contain the most highly concentrated residential population. An estimated 8,000 people live between the two communities, and most of them live in unincorporated areas.
Kimberling City was a recognizable location long before it became an official town in 1959. It was named for William Kimberling, who built a current-operated ferry to carry the area’s pioneers and Wilderness Road travelers across the White River until the old Kimberling Bridge was built in 1922. The White River occasionally flooded the area, and the 1922 bridge was washed out twice. A new bridge almost 1,900 feet in length was constructed above the old bridge as Table Rock Dam was erected in the late 1950s and the old bridge was submerged as the lake filled.