Joplin is the commercial, transportation, medical and cultural hub of a 5,000-square-mile area with parts in four states - Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma.
The city's website boasts that its 50,000 population swells to 270,000 during the workday as it draws from the 400,000 people who live within a 40-mile radius.
Joplin, located 140 miles south of Kansas City and 200 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, was founded in 1843 and operates on a city council-manager system. It sits at the junction of Interstate 44 and U.S. 71 and along historic Route 66. Joplin has been working on an ambitious downtown beautification project since 2005.
In 1933, the infamous outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow hid out in a Joplin garage for several weeks before fleeing after police were tipped off. They left behind a camera that yielded several iconic photos of the criminal duo.
The city's annual Boomtown Days festival in June features music, entertainment, kids activities, contests, food and games. The festival recalls Joplin's history as a lead-mining capital.
The Joplin Little Theater is the oldest continuously operating community theater west of the Mississippi, the city website boasts.
Famous people born in Joplin include poet Langston Hughes, golfer Hale Irwin, actors Bob Cummings and Dennis Weaver, and Emily Newell Blair who fought for women's suffrage.