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History

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Branson, Missouri was a little sleepy town until Harold Bell Write wrote his book of the "Shepherd of the Hills" in 1907.  Mr. Bell would be shocked to see Branson become the tourist area it is but he would be happy to know it is still a family originated town.  A town where you can walk the streets at night after attending one of the 140 excellent, clean, shows.  Silver Dollar City is a major theme park built around the 1800's as is the Shepherd of the Hills Theater. 

The historical bridge is across Lake Taneycomo, which set two new state records for Trout in 2005.  Each over 27 pounds.

   

 

Back in 1821, Missouri joined the Union. But long before this area was a state, settlers from all areas come to the Ozarks in seek of the plentiful wild game and fertile land. As more and more settlers come into the area, the need for a general store and post office was growing. So in 1882 the first general store and post office was opened by a jovial entrepreneur named Ruben Branson. There was trouble with the post office, the U.S. Postal Service officially recognized it, but the town had no name. So the town was named Branson after the postmaster, by general agreement of the town folk. For the next 15 years the town of Branson thrived because of the great fishing in the White River. The locals in Branson had great access to the River since it was only a couple of blocks away from downtown Branson.
   

In 1903 the Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad was completed. This allowed visitors from all over to come and explore the area. At this time Branson was growing, with a new bank, train depot, general store, and even a saloon. But the area around Branson remained untouched and unspoiled, just like the day it was created. Harold Bell Wright, a Kansas minister, was drawn to the area because of the untouched setting of the area. This area is where he wrote his novel "The Shepherd of the Hills". The book was published in 1907, shortly after it became his best-selling book. Lake Taneycomo was formed in 1913 when the White River was dammed. This allowed visitors to take a leisurely cruise to Rockaway Beach or the Powersite to see the new attraction. After the lake was formed, resorts started showing up around the lake. Vacationers from all over come to enjoy the float trips down the White River. In the 1930's the area was know as an inexpensive vacation spot. The ease of access to the area helped in increasing tourism. It was not until 1954 that the construction for the Table Rock Dam got started.

   

In 1959 the dam was completed and the Branson people were relieved that floods no longer threatened their town. Upon the completion of the Dam, resorts near Branson were encouraging vacationers to come and enjoy the great fishing and to see the new attractions in the area. As a result of building the Table Rock Dam the water of Lake Taneycomo, became to cold for swimming, but it did become a first class trout fishing lake.

 


 


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