West Plains

West Plains was laid out in 1850, organized in 1857, and became incorporated and the Howell County seat in 1861. The Civil War was devastating to West Plains. The town was burned by raiders in 1864, resettled in 1865 and in 1870 had a population of just 300 residents. When the railroad arrived in 1883, the town again began to grow. Today, it is home to more than 11,000 people. Unique and picturesque arcades round out each corner of the courthouse square. Developed throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, West Plains is home to the Howell County Courthouse, Missouri State University-West Plains campus and the West Plains Civic Center.

The City of West Plains received DREAM designation in 2006, and continues driving its revitalization forward. Current accomplishments include:

  • Hiring a part-time executive director of Downtown West Plains Inc.
  • Obtaining Home Repair Opportunity (HeRO) program funding from the Missouri Housing Development Commission for qualifying residential properties
  • Installing decorative lighting streetscape elements along the Washington Avenue approach
  • Utilizing funding assistance from the Department of Economic Development to create a Revolving Loan Fund Facade Rehabilitation Program and Ozarks Small Business Incubator Building Project
  • Negotiating a quiet zone plan with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad
  • Initiating a BBQ cook-off with proceeds benefitting Downtown West Plains Inc.

For more information about the Missouri DREAM Initiative activities in West Plains, please contact Mayor Joe Paul Evans at (417)256-7176.