The quiet town of Marshfield is about to enjoy a boom of activity. Find out how it’s growing, and why you should pay it a visit this month.
By Ettie Berneking | Photo by Jill Phillips
Best known for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival that brings out thousands of visitors, special guests and celebrities to the small town of Marshfield, this sleepy hollow has long drifted through the years and watched as other bedroom communities like Ozark and Nixa have enjoyed a wealth of growth.
Well now Marshfield is stepping into the game and charging forward with a list of new community projects and initiatives that residents and town leaders alike are excited to kick off.
Between cups of coffee at Tiff’s Natural Market, regulars buzz about the projects in the pipeline including a new community aquatics center that will finally bring a community pool back to Marshfield. Talk of rehabbing the downtown square and bringing it back to its former glory has store owners and shoppers eagerly looking to the future, and there are even plans to capitalize on Route 66 traffic and find ways to sweep visitors through town.
But probably the most talked-about change is the infiltration of young blood to the city’s
board of alderman and city leadership including Mayor Robert Williams.
The new faces and punch of energy have ignited collaboration between community leaders and Marshfield residents, and the energy is intoxicating. Everywhere you turn people are helping new business move in to the square, tossing around ideas on how to rehab store fronts and eagerly looking to the future to see what Marshfield has to offer.
Quotes from locals:
417 Magazine: What’s a fun ghost story about Marshfield?
“Each Halloween, the community theatre would do walking tours of haunted downtown, and one story goes that the store above Smokey J’s used to be a funeral home. A lady died long ago, and her family had a disagreement about where she should be buried. So she stayed up there for years.” —Rob Foster, 45, owner of Arch Contracting
417 Magazine: What’s one tip for someone visiting Marshfield?
“Everything here closes early, so get here early.”—Carley Trent, 26, kitchen manager at Tiff’s Natural Market
417 Magazine: Since moving here from Springfield, where have you met most people?
“Here at Tiffs. People come in and hang out. Everyone is really nice.”—Carley Trent, 26, kitchen manager at Tiff’s Natural Market
417 Magazine: What’s your favorite thing to do in Marshfield?
“There’s lots of thrifting here. Lots of flea markets and thrift stores.”—Carley Trent, 26, kitchen manager at Tiff’s Natural Market
417 Magazine: Do you have a favorite store on the square?
“The hardware store on the corner. It’s locally owned, and the wife has a little scrapbook section in the back of the store.”—Carley Trent, 26, kitchen manager at Tiff’s Natural Market
417 Magazine: What’s a fun factoid about Marshfield?
“We have the longest-running Fourth of July parade west of the Mississippi. Bush senior was here in ’91 I believe.”—Champ Herren, 39, insurance agent
417 Magazine: What makes Marshfield home for you?
“I’ve been here all my life. A lot has changed since I was a kid. Factories have closed, and stores have shut down. But when a town has been good to you, I believe you give back. So the question now is how do we recycle those store fronts?”—Champ Herren, 39, insurance agent
417 Magazine: What makes you hopeful for the future of Marshfield?
“We have a lot of energy here and a lot of people who want to do something. Our board of alderman is a young group with great energy.”—Champ Herren, 39, insurance agent
417 Magazine: What’s something new in town that you’re excited to see?
“We see a lot more people rehabing and using these buildings on the square. The historic Rainy building was just remodeled and is now a law office. And several new eateries are moving on to the square. In fact, I did the preservation and remodel job above Tiffs.”—Rob Foster, 45, owner of Arch Contracting
417 Magazine: What keeps you here in Marshfield?
“My son is the sixth generation of us to live in Marshfield. My family was here before Marshfield was even Marshfield and even before Webster County existed… When I was a kid the general manager of the radio station had a contest where people called in and shared what they liked best about Marshfield. I was 10 and wrote in to say that Marshfield just feels like home.”—Rob Foster, 45, owner of Arch Contracting
417 Magazine: What’s one hidden gem here in town?
“Hidden Waters Nature Park. It’s a dynamic park that is changing and growing all the time. There’s an entrance right off of Route 66, and even though it’s near the roadway, it really feels like you’re in the middle of the woods.”—Rob Foster, 45, owner of Arch Contracting
417 Magazine: What do you like most about living in Marshfield?
“I just like living in a small town. Family is always nearby, and everyone knows you. You can go to a football game and people will come up to you and say “oh I saw your son at the game…”—Tiff Replogle, 39, owner of Tiff’s Natural Market
417 Magazine: What prompted you to open a health food store in town?
“There is a real market for this here. We’ve seen a big fitness craze with great gyms popping up and the new community center. So offering healthier foods and local meats, bulk items, produce and grains just seemed like a natural fit.”—Tiff Replogle, 39, owner of Tiff’s Natural Market
417 Magazine: What’s your favorite thing to do with your family?
“We love going to Rotary Park. It’s great for an afternoon with the family. There are trails, playsets, volleyball courts, tennis courts, soccer fields, basketball courts, and they even have movies in the park during the summer.”—Tiff Replogle, 39, owner of Tiff’s Natural Market
417 Magazine: How has Marshfield changed over the years?
“It’s grown so much since I was a kid. What used to be open fields are now covered with businesses. But it still has its small town charm.”—Tim Jackson, 43, owner of Smokey J’s Deli & Pizza
417 Magazine: When did you open the pizza shop?
“I wanted to do something to help bring more business to the square, and our city council has a great vision for revitalizing downtown. I wanted to be part of that.”—Tim Jackson, 43, owner of Smokey J’s Deli & Pizza
417 Magazine: What role do you think the chamber plays in the Marshfield community?
“For years, the chamber here has been all about parades and rodeo, and that’s great, but we need to be more about helping our businesses and about growing that community. Success breeds success, and competition is healthy.”—Bradley Daniels, Marshfield chamber president
417 Magazine: What’s one hidden gem in Marshfield?
“Oriental Inn. It’s the only cashew chicken available here.”—Sarah Herren, with the Marshfield CVB
417 Magazine: What do you like most about Marshfield?
“I’m so proud of our community for what they’ve done and for what they will do. We’re a proud community all around.”—Sarah Herren, with the Marshfield CVB
417 Magazine: How do you tell the story of Marshfield?
“The greatest story here is how all sorts of organizations and community groups are coming together to develop the future of Marshfield. We’re a community that’s going to grow.”—Robert Williams, mayor of Marshfield
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