History of Hollister

With the establishment of the first US Land Office in Springfield in 1835 came a migration of rugged pioneer families into the virgin Ozark wilderness of Southwest Missouri.

Malinda Fortner was one of these early pioneers. Little is known of her past or why she chose the demanding life of a homesteader. The original 120 acre tract of land on which she established her claim in 1867 was the beginning for a crossroads settlement along the West Bank of Turkey Creek in the early 1880's.

Around the turn of the century, Rueben Kirkham opened a general store and applied to the Post Office Department for permission to establish a Post Office suggesting the name HOLLISTER after the birth place of his daughter in Hollister, California. Permission was granted and in 1904 the name of the Ozarks settlement was established.

With the coming of the St Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad the area was opened to new expansion. It became the headquarters for the Mo-Pac Agricultural Agent of the White River Division. The area achieved tremendous agricultural development. Berries, vegetables, grape vineyards, orchards, cotton and tobacco flourished and the amount, variety of stock and produce shipped from the station in the early years was phenomenal.

W.H. Johnson and Professor J.W. Blankenship platted and started the major development of a beautiful English style village which attracted visitors from all over the world. Johnson's dream resulted in the row of quaint Elizabethan structures which is now Downing Street. His son W.W. Johnson, built the historic Ye English Inn in 1912 and it became a stopover for travelers with special trains bringing visitors to a then remote area.

Hollister was incorporated as a town in 1910 with Professor J.W. Blankenship becoming the first mayor.

Hollister is noted for bringing to Taney County the first major influx of tourism. It had the first iron bridge in Taney County which still spans Turkey Creek, the first paved street, electric lights, movie house, the first registered pharmacist and modern steam heated hotel.

The colorful history of this unusual Ozark town is fascinating and covers and era when stock wars were waged between merchants and stockmen. Grape carnivals promoted by the railroad were gala affairs where men and women of an age gone by helped to build an unique English Village in the Ozarks. . .Hollister, Missouri

Local Historian, Viola Hartman, is credited with Hollister's being placed on the National Register of Historical sites In 1978.