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Poplar Bluff, located in Southeast Missouri, is midway between St. Louis and Memphis, Tennessee. The city is known as the gateway to the Ozarks for its proximity to the Ozark Foothills. It takes its name from a bluff that overlooks the Black River and for the beautiful poplar trees in the area. The city was founded as the Butler County seat in 1849, but there is evidence that its first European visitor came to the area as far back as 1539. That visitor would have been Hernando de Soto, who started his trek across America at Tampa Bay in 1539, then crossed the Mississippi River to the St. Francis River and into Butler County. The ...

Poplar Bluff, located in Southeast Missouri, is midway between St. Louis and Memphis, Tennessee. The city is known as the gateway to the Ozarks for its proximity to the Ozark Foothills. It takes its name from a bluff that overlooks the Black River and for the beautiful poplar trees in the area. The city was founded as the Butler County seat in 1849, but there is evidence that its first European visitor came to the area as far back as 1539. That visitor would have been Hernando de Soto, who started his trek across America at Tampa Bay in 1539, then crossed the Mississippi River to the St. Francis River and into Butler County. The earliest permanent settler came in the 1800s by way of the Natchitoches Trail about 10 miles west of what is now Poplar Bluff. Poplar Bluff is smack in the middle of the roads that lead to several of Missouri’s great destinations: Branson, with its casinos and theaters; Lake of the Ozarks, a premier lake resort destination that offers golf, water activities, shopping and fishing; St. Louis, with its museums, galleries and history; and St. Joseph, home to the Pony Express, the first mail delivery system in the United States, and to American western outlaw Jesse James. And, Hannibal, America’s Hometown made famous by the author Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) with the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

Frances Folsom
About the Expert

Frances Folsom is the author of CitySpot Palermo, a contributor to the Reiskits guides to Milan and Italy's Lakes Region, and Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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    Anytime of year is good to visit.