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Small Towns With Deep Roots - Mulberry, KS - KOAM TV 7

Small Towns With Deep Roots - Mulberry, KS

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    We often see the historic renovations and progress in communities like Pittsburg and Joplin, but, what about those without major support from outside groups?.
    How do they preserve their past?.
Mulberry native Kathleen Henegar: "It was 1887, 86 or 87, when the town, a man by the name of Taylor, started a store and got a post office started, and it was called Mulberry Grove, Kansas."
That's how it all started here in what's now known as 'Mulberry, Kansas.'
Kathleen Henegar is a Mulberry native.
She grew up in this town, now with a population just barely over 200.
But the town's deep roots run back to it's coal mining days...
Henegar: "The Miller family not only started that mine in 1904, they built the largest department store in Crawford County, here on Main Street, and Mulberry was the largest growing town in Crawford County in the early 1900s."
She's spent the last ten years researching the history of the place she calls home...and has learned some interesting facts about what was.
Henegar: "I read one article about a celebration and it was a labor day celebration in Mulberry, that 25,000 people attended, I would have never thought that would happen in Mulberry."
Mulberry's roots run deep.
Rail was an integral part in the community, for the coal mining taking place.
Trains even offered passenger service to Pittsburg and Joplin, but now, the trains are simply passing by mulberry, taking freight to other places.
Kathleen's research brought up an interesting story about the former rail service.
A circus had come to town, and when they were ready to leave, something extraordinary took place.
Henegar: "While they were waiting on the depot to open up so they could buy tickets, they were in the depot waiting on it to open, and six men came and they just assumed they were waiting to get tickets too, pretty soon these men drew out guns, and they robbed everybody that was there."
Now, these stories...are all that's left of a community that once had a rich history and an important place in the history of Crawford county.
So, Kathleen started collecting artifacts, so there would be something more tangible for people to hold on to.
Henegar: "I would find things like this 'Win-A-Way' product and I used to like to go to flea markets a lot and garage sales and I'd find things like that that made me wanna search deeper and see where this company was and when and so forth."
The site of the old high school...now a grazing place for cattle.
One of the many banks, just a concrete box in a field.
Hardly any of the buildings remain, just, memories...

    Kathleen says she hopes, that her grand kids, and others, will continue to tell the stories and hold on to what's left, before there's nothing left of mulberry but cow pastures and deserted roads.

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Chris Warner
Reporter

A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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