Nestled between the Ozark Mountains and the Mississippi River is the portion of the state of Missouri known as the "Bootheel"--a name derived from its boundary which resembles a heel of a cowboy boot. Gideon, Missouri lies 20 miles west of the Mississippi River just off Interstate 55 between St. Louis, Missouri and Memphis, Tennessee.
The area is rich historically. Gideon was once a swampland southwest of New Madrid, the location at which Desoto set foot on Missouri soil in 1541. The area was settled by hunters and fur trappers until 1900. In that year, Eugene Gideon and W.P. Anderson settled in Gideon to build a sawmill. This partnership became the Gideon-Anderson Lumber and Mercantile Company which was vital in building the town of Gideon and also became the leading manufacturer of wooden boxes in the United States during World War II.
The "company town" built around Gideon-Anderson factory no longer exists. The plant no longer manufactures boxes and other wooden products. Gideon has become a suburb community for area towns with their active industries. Families still choose Gideon for residence because of its excellent school system.
Farming is a major contributor to the economy of this region. Land once considered worthless swamp now yields crops such as cotton, soybeans, wheat, corn, milo, and vegetables. Farmland purchased in 1930 for $1.00 per acre now lists for $1,200 per acre. The mild climate and growing season attributes to an abundance of crops. Three elevators, 4 cotton gins, and 2 aerial spraying operations serve area farmers.
The history of Gideon before 1900
The founding of Gideon
The history of the Little River Drainage District
The Gideon Anderson Lumber Company
Important dates in Gideon's history
Stories and Folklore from the Gideon Area
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Last Updated: 4/16/97