Lebanon, the county seat, is the largest city in Laclede County with a population of 9,983. It was named in honor of a prominent minister's hometown of Lebanon, TN. Benjamin B. Harrison was one original proprietor of the town site and he would be proud today of this progressive town. The current United States Senator from Missouri, Christopher "Kit" Bond, has declared Lebanon the "Aluminum Boat Capital of the World." Six boat manufacturers as well as several companies that manufacture boat related products have their home in Lebanon.
The Laclede County Historical Society Museum at 262 N. Adams next to the courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Open to the public May through October, it was originally built to house prisoners and as the home of the sheriff. Other interesting places to visit include Bennett Springs, a State Park just minutes from Lebanon that provides beautiful scenery, great fishing, and other recreational opportunities. There are a variety of motels, a bed and breakfast, fast food, restaurants, shopping, antiques, and nearby attractions such as Lake of the Ozarks and Osage Beach Outlet Mall, all making Laclede County a pleasant place to visit while digging up dead relatives! The Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce can be reached at 417-588-3256, address 500 East Elm, Lebanon, MO 65536.
The Bennett Spring area is a beautiful place to visit about 12 miles west of Lebanon. Acquired in 1924 by the State of Missouri, great scenery, camping sites, hiking, picnicking areas, and trout fishing make it one of the most popular parks in Missouri. It was first settled in 1844 when James A. Brice came from Illinois and camped by a big spring which emptied into the Niangua River. Mr. Brice homesteaded this land and built a mill. The post office of Brice, Missouri was established and named for Mr. Brice. Later, another mill was built by another Illinois man named Bennett. Both mills washed away. Peter Bennett and Anna Brice, James Brice's only daughter, married; they built another mill called Bennett's Mill. Anna inherited her father's land upon his death, combining the two families properties. When the Bennett Mill burned in the late 1800's, the family leased the property out. Peter and Anna's two children, Sherman and Josie, sold the property in 1924 allowing this scenic area to become one of Missouri's first state parks. Motels, camping sites, canoe rentals, and restaurants are easy to find. Bennett Spring's address is Lebanon and the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce includes Bennett Spring.
The small community of Conway, population 629, lies southwest of Lebanon about 12 miles. Christen Hanson, a train engineer, named this town laid out in 1869 by the railroad company after the first engineer to go through the town after the rails were laid. Irvin and Knight opened the first store about 1869. Hanson is buried in Graceland Cemetery in Conway. For am interesting link with Conway, including current issues of the "Conway Chronicles" that has a 75 Years Ago column. Conway's zip code is 65632.
Phillipsburg, population 170, zip code 65722. Phillipsburg was named after Rufus Phillips who is buried at Twilight. According to his tombstone, he founded Phillipsburg in 1850. Phillips was born in Keene, New Hampshire and graduated from Hancock Academy in 1843. He was an educator and surveyor.
Eldridge, zip code 65463 began around 1884 when John Owensby opened the first store. Lynchburg, zip code 65543, and Falcon, zip code 65470, have post offices. I'm not sure of the populations, but they are small.
Other smaller populated places include Twin Bridges, population 44, Pease, Orla, Drew, Nebo, Morgan, Lyons, Russ, Brush Creek, Winnipeg, Oakland, Drynob, Brownfield, Sleeper, Prosperine, Hazelgreen, and Dove. Competition, also known early as Newburg, is located on the Gasconade river.
Eldridge, Hooker, Mayfield, Smith, Osage, Gasconade, Franklin, Washington, Union, Phillipsburg, Spring Hollow, Auglaize, and Lebanon (East and West).
Other nearby towns in neighboring counties include Buffalo in Dallas County, Marshfield in Webster County, Waynesville in Pulaski County, Camdenton in Camden County and Hartville and Grovespring in Wright County.