Branson... a Tradition of Creative Excellence

Located in the rolling Ozark Hills of southwest Missouri, Branson has long been known as the home to great craftsmen, musicians and Midwestern hospitality.

Located in the rolling Ozark Hills of southwest Missouri, Branson has long been known as the home to great craftsmen, musicians and Midwestern hospitality.

The Branson area gained national attention in the early 1900s, when author Harold Bell Wright’s novel “The Shepherd of the Hills” detailed life in the Missouri Ozarks – and the natural beauty of the area. It sold millions of copies and ultimately was adapted into four movies, including a 1941 telling starring John Wayne.

The novel is said to be one of the major reasons the Missouri Ozarks became a destination for travelers and known for regional hospitality. Wright’s moving story is recreated during Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama at the former homestead of John and Anna Ross, real people who became famous as Bell’s fictionalized characters Old Matt and Aunt Mollie. 

While Shepherd of the Hills offered a connection to the Branson area’s history, Silver Dollar City is one of the best places to see that history on full display. 

Themed to showcase lifestyles of the 1880s, Silver Dollar City boasts an array of craftsmen skilled in the arts of yesteryear, such as blacksmithing. And throughout the year, Silver Dollar City hosts a variety of performers who showcase their unparalleled musical skills – from fiddling to singing to banjo picking – especially during events like the annual Bluegrass and Barbecue Festival.

Speaking of music, two of Branson’s most-storied performance families are keeping alive traditions that date to the 1950s.

In 1959, the Mabe family started performing in downtown Branson, near Lake Taneycomo. In 1969, they dubbed their show “The Baldknobbers” and the family has been a staple of Branson’s performance lineup ever since. Likewise, Presley’s Country Jubilee is among Branson’s longest-running shows. The Presleys began performing in 1963 and are credited for building the first music theater on Highway 76 – known as the Branson Strip – in 1967.

Elsewhere around Branson, more traditional skills are on display at places like Ozark Quilts and More, which has three locations. There’s nothing cozier than a hand-made quilt on a chilly Missouri night and the folks at Ozark Quilts have been making unique creations for more than a decade.

 

Next time you’re in Branson, take time to explore these locales and learn more about how and why “forgotten” skills are fresh in the minds of the people who live, work and play here. Plan your visit today.