Old Photos: Neosho,MO

The Flower Box City: 1952–1968

Since the 1950s Neosho has been locally well-known as “The Flower Box City”, the name dubbed after the city earned the All-America City Award in the 1950s. In 1955 the town applied for and received a $5,000 grant from the New York Community Trust for a civic beautification project. Local companies provided lumber at cost, and the Jaycees formed an assembly line to build more than 200 wooden flower boxes. Pet Milk Company donated 400 used, wooden barrels for container gardens, and town nurseries supplied plants at reduced rates. The city even dressed up trash cans and parking meters around the courthouse square with flower baskets.

The effort earned Neosho a coveted All-America City Award from Look magazine and the National Municipal League in 1957. The Flower Box Promotion Committee has supported beautification ever since, awarding ‘Beauty Spot’ prizes each spring and summer to homes and businesses with outstanding yards, flower gardens, and flower boxes.

Life magazine photojournalist Wallace Kirkland covered the event for the magazine. A life collection of his photographs from this assignment, many previously unpublished, can be found in the Life photo archive, hosted by Google.

There are too many photos to post,so I am concentrating on the ones with old cars.

The rest of the set by Wallas Kirkland.