Poplar Bluff, Missouri

Poplar Bluff, Missouri

Rodgers Theatre Building (Art Deco architecture)
Nickname(s): Gateway to the Ozarks, Little Chicago, The Bluff, PB
Motto: A Community of Opportunity

Location of Poplar Bluff, Missouri
Coordinates: 36°45′25″N 90°23′34″W / 36.75694°N 90.39278°W / 36.75694; -90.39278Coordinates: 36°45′25″N 90°23′34″W / 36.75694°N 90.39278°W / 36.75694; -90.39278
Country United States
State Missouri
County Butler
  Type Council-Manager
  Mayor Angela Pearson
  Mayor Pro tem Jack Rushin
  City Manager (Open)
  Total 12.98 sq mi (33.62 km2)
  Land 12.91 sq mi (33.44 km2)
  Water 0.07 sq mi (0.18 km2)
Elevation 361 ft (110 m)
Population (2010)[2]
  Total 17,023
  Estimate (2012[3]) 17,169
  Density 1,318.6/sq mi (509.1/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
  Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 63901-63902
Area code(s) 573
FIPS code 29-59096[4]
GNIS feature ID 0751712[5]
Website www.poplarbluff-mo.gov

Poplar Bluff is a small city in Butler County in Southeast Missouri in the United States. It is the county seat of Butler County[6] and is known as "The Gateway to the Ozarks" among other names. The population was 17,023 at the 2010 census.

The Poplar Bluff Micropolitan Statistical Area consists of all of Butler County. The city is at the crossroads of U.S. Route 60 and U.S. Route 67.


Poplar Bluff is located at 36°45′25″N 90°23′34″W / 36.75694°N 90.39278°W / 36.75694; -90.39278 (36.756944, −90.392778),[7] along the Black River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.98 square miles (33.62 km2), of which, 12.91 square miles (33.44 km2) is land and 0.07 square miles (0.18 km2) is water.[1]

Poplar Bluff takes its name from a bluff that overlooks Black River. When first settled, the bluff was covered with tulip poplar trees. The Butler County Courthouse and the offices of the city's Daily American Republic newspaper sit on this site. Poplar Bluff lies along an escarpment separating the Ozark Foothills from the Mississippi embayment in Southeast Missouri. The foothills lie to the north and west and the embayment is to the south and east. The surrounding area is commonly known as the "Three Rivers" with many local organizations and businesses using the name. The three rivers—Current River, Black River, and St. Francis River—are 40 miles apart with Poplar Bluff located in the center on the Black River.


The French were the first Europeans to assert any territorial rights over the Poplar Bluff area. The French held the area until 1770 when it was ceded by treaty to Spain. Spain held the area until 1802 when it was returned to France. During this time the area of Poplar Bluff, as well as all of Butler County, held almost no European settlements until 1819, when the first white settler family moved into the Poplar Bluff area. It was reported that about 300 Native Americans resided in the area at that time.

The earliest permanent settlements in what is now Butler County occurred in the early 19th century along the Natchitoches Trail, an old Native American Trail west of what is now Poplar Bluff on Ten Mile Creek and Cane Creek. Butler County was organized in 1849 and Poplar Bluff was chosen as the county seat. In 1855 the first courthouse was built and the town grew. On February 9, 1870, Poplar Bluff was incorporated. The Ward Plantation was established as the largest and longest slave plantation in the State of Missouri, founded by Ephraim Ward in 1829 and continued until the end of the civil war in 1865. After the Civil War, Rutherford Ward founded the 1st Bank of Missouri and converted the Ward Plantation into Ward Estate where they focused on farming. It was passed down to his son Wiley Ward who during a time of great prosperity bought most of the town and became its benefactor. After he died it was willed to his son, the industrialist farmer Dewey H. Ward, who in 1986 gifted the house and property to the state and town so it could be converted to a museum showcasing all major events in Poplar Bluff.[8]

In 1927 a tornado leveled most of the city, especially the original business district along Main and Broadway streets.[9]

The Butler County Courthouse, Cynthia-Kinzer Historic District, Alfred W. Greer House, Hargrove Pivot Bridge, Mark Twain School, J. Herbert Moore House, Thomas Moore House, Moore-Dalton House, North Main Street Historic District, John Archibald Phillips House, Poplar Bluff Commercial Historic District, Poplar Bluff Public Library, Rodgers Theatre Building, South Sixth Street Historic District, St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad Depot, St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad Depot, Wheatley Public School, Williams-Gierth House, Williamson-Kennedy School, Wright-Dalton-Bell-Anchor Department Store Building, and Zehe Building are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[10][11][12][13]

Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201517,266[14]1.4%


2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 17,023 people, 7,181 households, and 4,154 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,318.6 inhabitants per square mile (509.1/km2). There were 8,038 housing units at an average density of 622.6 per square mile (240.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.79% White, 9.97% Black or African American, 0.53% Native American, 0.89% Asian, 0.06% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.90% from other races, and 2.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.21% of the population.

There were 7,181 households of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.1% were married couples living together, 17.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.2% were non-families. 36.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.94.

The median age in the city was 38.4 years. 24.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.6% were from 25 to 44; 24.6% were from 45 to 64; and 18.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 45.9% male and 54.1% female.

2000 census

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, there were 16,651 people, 7,077 households, and 4,295 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,438.9 people per square mile (555.7/km²). There were 7,871 housing units at an average density of 680.2 per square mile (262.7/km²).

The racial makeup of the city was 87.04% Caucasian, 9.71% African American, 0.55% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.48% from other races, and 1.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.35% of the population.

There were 7,870 households out of which 52.7% were married couples living together, 20.28% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.3% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.9.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.7 years. For every 100 females there were 83.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $22,068, and the median income for a family was $28,744. The per capita income for the city was $13,996. About 19.3% of families and 24.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.4% of those under age 18 and 17.6% of those age 65 or over.


The city hall of Poplar Bluff, Missouri.
The tallest buildings in Poplar Bluff, Missouri; Wilson and Hillcrest Towers

Poplar Bluff operates under the Council–Manager form of government. The city manager appoints heads of various city departments and agencies including Airport Director, Art Museum Director, Black River Coliseum Director, Finance, Personnel, Collections Director, Fire Department Chief, City Planner, Police Chief, and Street Superintendent.


Public schools

The Poplar Bluff R-1 School District serves the educational needs of most of the residents of Poplar Bluff and the surrounding area. There are seven elementary schools, one junior high and one senior high school in the school district.[16] During the 2008–2009 school year, there were 4,934 students and 374 certified staff members enrolled in the Poplar Bluff R-1 School District. The school colors are maroon and white and its mascot is the mule. Athletics offered in the school district include boys' and girls' basketball, soccer, track, cross country, and tennis; boys' baseball, golf, football, and wrestling; and girls' softball, volleyball, cheerleading, and swimming.

Elementary schools

Secondary schools

Private schools

Colleges and universities

Three Rivers Community College is located in Poplar Bluff and provides college courses along with career and technical programs. Three Rivers offers the same freshman and sophomore level classes as many four-year public universities. The school colors are gold and black and its mascot is Rocky Raider. Three Rivers Basketball Coach Gene Bess has been recognized as the NJCAA "all time most winning Junior College coach".[17]

Notable people



  1. 1 2 "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  2. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
  3. Template:Town web
  4. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. Template:Town web
  6. Template:Town web
  7. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  8. Historic maps of Poplar Bluff in the Sanborn Maps of Missouri Collection at the University of Missouri
  9. Archived September 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  11. "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 7/11/11 through 7/15/11. National Park Service. 2011-07-22.
  12. "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 11/05/12 through 11/09/12. National Park Service. 2012-11-16.
  13. "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 7/20/15 through 7/24/15. National Park Service. 2015-07-31.
  14. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  15. "Missouri Population 1900–1990" (CSV). Missouri Census Data Center. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  16. "Missouri School District Directory: Poplar Bluff R-I". Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Retrieved 2010-07-20.
  17. "Gene Bess". Raiders Athletics. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  18. Rochlin, Margy (September 27, 1992). "The Prime Time of Linda Bloodworth-Thomason : With Her Husband, Harry, The Unflappable Producer Has Become CBS' Comedy Franchise". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  19. "ICON MEN: Christian Boeving (Shoulders, Biceps & Chest Workout)". TV.com. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  20. Baker, Greg (January 27, 1993). "The Pioneer of Porn". Miami New Times. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  21. 1 2 Montieth, Mark. "Ben Hansbrough Begins Proving Himself (Again)". Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  22. Hook, Guy Yocom,Ben van. "My Shot: Sean Fister | Golf Digest". Golf Digest. Retrieved 2016-02-03.
  23. "Biography". scottinnes.com. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  24. Currier, Joel (February 28, 2014). "KTVI's Charles Jaco leaving the news station". St Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  25. "William Timothy Lollar". MLB.com. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  26. Whiteis, David. "Matt Lucas". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  27. "Julie McCullough". Roof Top Comedy. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  28. "Book excerpt: The rise of Derland Moore". ESPN. August 16, 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2015.

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