We’re so excited to announce all of our nominees for our 2023 Small Town Showcase “Featured Five” communities!

Scroll through our 2023 nominees below and help us choose our 2023 Feature Five communities.  Once you’ve read all about our nominees, click the button below and vote for up to five communities. Please note: each individual may only vote once.  Voting closes at 11:59 PM on July 1st, 2022. 

Winners will be announced by August 1st.    Questions? Email caitlin@mohumanities.org. Thank you for your votes, and good luck to our nominees! 

2023 Nominees

Turners (Greene County) Population: 3

Turners might not seem like much, but this town has a story worth sharing. Their town store and post office have been in continuous operation for over 130 years. This spot was a popular train stop on the Frisco line, and their history draws people from all over. They may be just a “wide spot in the road”, but their roots run deep.

Craig (Holt County) Population: 150

This tiny community is determined to work through the hardships they’ve endured over the last several years. The dedication and love that their residents have for the town is what propels them forward and helps the town grow stronger together. They know they have a lot of potential, and would love for the world to see real hard work and community togetherness in action.

Kimmswick (Jefferson County) Population: 157

This river town is filled to the brim with things to do. They’ve recently completed a river port to allow for boats and will soon be home of the historic Delta Queen Steamboat. Kimmswick is a destination for shopping and eating, and is home to over 20 shops and of course, the famous Blue Owl Bakery. They also host their annual Strawberry and Apple Butter festivals that draw thousands of people.

Caledonia (Washington County) Population: 196

Caledonia is a true “step back in time” with its historic buildings and family-friendly festivals. Though small, this town has been recognized by the US Department of the Interior and has more than 20 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. They are proud of their talented business owners and their community’s willingness to lend a hand.

Rocheport (Boone County) Population: 300

Rocheport is alive with history, coming upon their Bicentennial in 2025. Their location on the river and next to the railroad gave this town an important role in the history and development of the state. They are dedicated to community, service to others, historic preservation, and the enjoyment of the natural world.

Altenburg (Perry County) Population: 350

Small-but-mighty Altenburg is truly a step back in time. They are a community filled with religious history, as the home of the first Concordia Seminary, and historical value, as one of the original seven colonies of the 1839 German Lutheran Saxon Immigration. Their Lutheran Heritage Center is a renowned genealogical research center as well as a fascinating museum dedicated to sharing the history of this area.

Rosebud (Gasconade County) Population: 400

Rosebud’s strong leadership and dedicated citizens are excited to show off all that their little town has to offer. Well known in the area for its antique shops, boutiques, and restaurants, the community has so much to explore. Take a step back in time as you stroll through town and take in the historic buildings, friendly atmosphere, and scenic countryside.

Norborne (Carroll County) Population: 637

Norborne is the self-proclaimed “Soybean Capital of the World” and is proud of their annual Soybean Festival, which was first held in the summer of 1982 to revive community togetherness and promote agriculture. Often described as “blink and you’ll miss it”, this town is ready to show off their community and friendliness.

Green City (Sullivan County) Population: 650

The Best Little Town on the Map. For its size, Green City is truly prospering with numerous local businesses, thriving church communities, and a strong school district. Their friendly residents are ready and eager to welcome visitors and show off what makes them proud to call Green City home!

Lockwood (Dade County) Population: 890

Lockwood is proud of their tight-knit community, strong work ethic, and the vitality of their downtown. Their goal is a business in every building to maintain a thriving community, and have often heard people call Lockwood a “storybook town”. 

Shell Knob (Barry County) Population: 1,100

Shell Knob describes themselves as “the most welcoming town in America” and the “hidden gem of Table Rock Lake.” This peaceful, picturesque town is full of natural beauty and offers a relaxing escape from the busier side of the lake. It’s friendly residents and dedicated civic leaders know their community is special, and would love others to see what they see.

Glasgow (Howard County) Population: 1,100

Glasgow is steeped in history. The town was the site of the Battle of Glasgow during the Civil War and has a number of historic churches. It is home to the oldest pharmacy and library west of the Mississippi, and boasts plenty of historic homes that emulate a feeling of being in another time. 

Lincoln (Benton County) Population: 1,200

This community cherishes the small town values of supporting local and helping when in need. They often hear that for such a little town, they offer unique experiences and lots of family-friendly events. Their main priority for the future is making over their Main Street, and are looking forward to seeing that through!

Cole Camp (Benton County) Population 1,230

Cole Camp has been described as a real life “Mayberry”, with its quaint downtown, unique shops, and friendly, welcoming residents. The community has a downtown area with many late 1800s buildings, which they’ve worked to keep as historically accurate and unique as possible. Community members are very involved, with volunteers dedicated to running events, raising money, and sharing their history.

Steelville (Crawford County) Population: 1,650

Steelville is a destination for outdoor recreation. Their Hoppe Spring Park and other area streams draw thousands of tourists each summer, and Steelville is proud to show them their downtown and friendly citizens. In addition to their outdoor offerings, Steelville has beautiful historic buildings and lots of hometown pride.

Piedmont (Wayne County) Population: 1,800

Piedmont is known to many for its reported UFO sightings. But if the extra-terrestrial isn’t your “thing”, never fear. Visitors, tourists, and outdoorsmen alike applaud Piedmont and the surrounding area for remaining remarkably beautiful and pristine, with its miles and miles of trees, clear streams and rivers, and lakes. For the history buff, this town is 7 miles from the famous Jesse James Train Robbery at Gads Hill.

Hamilton (Caldwell County) Population: 1,800

Hamilton has developed a reputation for being the “quilting capital of the U.S.” with people coming from all over the world for their quilting shops and museum. They are also home to the JC Penney Museum and Home, and host the JC Penney street festival each September. They are a bustling small town, but they are always looking for ways to make their town better.

Doniphan (Ripley County) Population: 2,000

Doniphan is a small town with a lot of heart. They are a destination for river recreation on the beautiful Current River and also offer great restaurants and shopping. They also know the value of cultural heritage, and are proud to host their Current River Heritage Days and share their town’s history through their museum, historical society, and Pioneer village. 

Seymour (Webster County) Population 2,000

Seymour is home to many unique features. One of the town’s biggest draws is the Southern Missouri Off Road Ranch, which draws thousands of people each weekend from March to October. This community is also home to the largest population of Old English Amish in the country. It’s a town that truly believes in supporting one-another, and frequently sees examples of people lending a hand when there is a need.

Willow Springs (Howell County) Population: 2,200

The town of Willow Springs may be small, but there’s a lot going on. One-of-a-kind shopping experiences, music venues, outdoor recreation, and festivals ensure there is something for all to enjoy. The sense of community and belonging felt in this town makes everyone feel at home.

Hermann (Gasconade County) Population: 2,400

Hermann prides itself on its meticulous preservation of the town’s rich German heritage. With multiple museums, beautiful scenery, and plenty of retail and shopping, this community wants everyone to know that though their award-winning wineries are a wonderful asset, there is so much more to their story. 

Fayette (Howard County) Population: 2,700

From the tree lined streets filled with historic homes to their iconic downtown square, beauty abounds in Fayette. They value history, heritage, culture, and a strong work ethic, and are proud that they have so much to offer in this small farming community. They keep a close relationship to their local university, Central Methodist University, which provides many opportunities for their town.

Licking (Texas County) Population: 2,700

Licking  has a growing arts community, centered in their Texas County Museum of History and Art, local art galleries, and art-based businesses. They work hard to restore and preserve local history and historic structures, and their location in the Ozarks make them a destination for deer and turkey hunting each year. 

Versailles (Morgan County) Population: 2,900

If selected, Versailles would love to show off their appreciation for the arts. From their active community theatre to their dance school, they feel fortunate to have these opportunities available, and know that these kinds of amenities aren’t always available in a small community. They boast a classic “small town, old-fashioned feel” with a bustling town square and vibrant festivals.

Buffalo (Dallas County) Population: 3,000

Buffalo is dedicated to progress, focusing on improving infrastructure, expanding parks and recreation programs, and opening new businesses. Their proactive community members dedicate their time, talent, and treasure to ensure the success of their community, and they are eager to share the love of their town with others. Their motto is: “Believe in Buffalo.”

Cuba (Crawford County) Population: 3,300

A designated Tree City USA and the Route 66 Mural City, Cuba has many accolades to its name. The community is located along Route 66 and draws many visitors to see its murals and experience the history. They value the heritage of this area, and dedicated the Osage Trail Legacy monument, celebrating the history and legacy of the Osage Nation.

St. James (Phelps County) Population: 3,900

St. James has a seemingly endless list of places to explore and things to do. Though possibly most known for its wineries, the town is also home to Maramec Spring Park, where visitors will find tranquil scenery, trout fishing, and historic remains of the old Iron Works. With award-winning restaurants and plenty of unique businesses, St. James is a true hidden gem.

Centralia (Boone County) Population: 4,200

Centralia is steeped in history and a strong sense of community. They have a thriving downtown business district, multiple Civil War history sites, and a dedicated historical society who work to engage citizens and visitors alike. Those who have visited Centralia remark that they always feel welcome and want to return to see more.

California (Moniteau County) Population: 4,400

California prides itself on its revitalization efforts in the last 30 years, which have included parks, a new business district, their downtown, and historical society. They credit their wonderful residents for making this town feel like a real life “Hallmark movie town”, and love that they can count on one another when there is a need. The town hosts many special events throughout the year, but most notable is their county fair, the oldest continuous fair west of the Mississippi.

Sainte Genevieve (Saint Genevieve County) Population: 4,500

Sainte Genevieve is the oldest permanent European settlement in Missouri. The story of this community and its historic structures make up what is now a National Historic Park, but there’s even more to love about this community. Great shops, museums, community organizations, and restaurants are just a sampling of the wonderful things to discover here.

Macon (Macon County) Population: 5,300

Macon has so much to offer its residents and tourists. From festivals and restaurants to hunting and fishing, this community has a lot to brag about. This warm and welcoming town is dedicated to providing cultural, social, civic, and educational opportunities, all while showcasing classic small town charm. 

Waynesville (Pulaski County) Population: 5,300

This Route 66 community has brought their community into the modern age while keeping their vintage feel and small town charm. They are eager to show off the revitalization of their downtown, and offer an abundance of events and attractions for young and old alike. Waynesville strives to preserve their history and heritage while always planning for the future.

Eldon (Miller County) Population: 5,400

The town of Eldon is ready and eager to welcome you. They are conveniently located close to the ever-popular Lake of the Ozarks, and offer that classic “Small Town USA” feel. They would love to show off their downtown and their continued efforts to revitalize their older historic buildings. 

Charleston (Mississippi County) Population: 5,900

Charleston is eager to show off their new Main Street initiative, led by townspeople making investments in the community’s old downtown properties. This friendly and quaint town is full of community pride, and is proud to host their nationally-recognized Dogwood-Azalea Festival each year.

Trenton (Grundy County) Population: 6,000

Trenton wants to show off their historic downtown revitalization efforts and their welcoming, friendly atmosphere. Crowder State Park is located in Trenton, providing outdoor recreation, and the town has a lot of rich history. They are dedicated to increasing the number of locally-owned businesses, and pride themselves on being a giving and supportive community.

Carl Junction (Jasper County) Population: 8,000

Carl Junction puts their school at the top of their priorities. They are proud to say that in their community, when their school, their teachers, or their students are in need, their residents step up. They would love to show the world how dedicated they are to their citizens, and how their efforts have accomplished so much, such as a donation-driven community library and annual festivals.

Nevada (Vernon County) Population: 8,300

Nevada has something for everyone. The murals, museums, historic sites, and parks offer endless ways for visitors and residents to spend their time, and their attractive square and beautiful historic homes offer the perfect scenery for strolling through town. They are also proud of the efforts of their volunteers, who work to ensure their residents have the resources they need to lead happy, fulfilling lives.

Perryville (Perry County) Population: 8,500

Perryville is a community that is ready and willing to show off. In a matter of ten years, their downtown went from having 26 empty buildings to only 5, creating over two dozen new businesses. They also created the Perry County Heritage Tourism office, dedicated to embracing and sharing the rich cultural heritage of the area. This town has gone above and beyond to show what is possible when you have a dedicated community and a dream.

Boonville (Cooper County) Population: 8,800

Boonville is a community that works together and thrives together. They describe themselves as a beautiful, lively small town where history buffs, outdoorsmen, and foodies will all feel right at home. The first agriculture exhibition, which would become the State Fair, was held in Boonville, and the community is also home to the oldest working theatre west of the Allegheny Mountains.

Monett (Barry/Lawrence Counties) Population: 8,900

Monett has seen a lot of change in its time. It’s been labeled a railroad town and the strawberry capital of the midwest, but more recently, Monett wants the world to know how much opportunity this town offers. Major industries, diversity, history, arts, and parks all await future visitors and residents!

Smithville (Clay/Platte Counties) Population: 10,400

Smithville is eager to showcase their Main Street District and their historic square. They are a community that embraces growth, culture, and small-town identity. They are proud of their community’s strength and resilience, and the many town events they host throughout the year to engage both citizens and tourists alike.