In this weekly article, we ask a community member five questions. Today we’re talking to Webb City historian Jeanne Newby.
1. Can you tell us about your first published book, âThe Zinc City, Webb City, Missouri?
It’s a book about the history of Webb City, starting with John C. Webb and going all the way. There are only a few books on Webb City, but most of them don’t give you the full story. With it, you can read from start to finish and know the city of Webb City.
The back cover reads: “This book is a partial collection of research carried out by Jeanne Newby during her 31 years of writing a weekly column in the local newspaper, The Webb City Sentinel, known as’ Ancestors, Legends and Time ‘. This would include approximately 1,612 items.
âJeanne has developed a passion for local history during these 31 years. Not just Webb City, but many other small towns in the local community, which made up the famous Southwestern Missouri mining district. While researching the many ancestors of Webb City’s past, much of the genealogy came out, which is another of Jeanne’s passions.
âThere were many opportunities for Jeanne to take city tours and share the story with individuals and bring that story to life. A fun project was to also be able to take young second-graders, high school students and other classes on tour. The children learned about buildings that no longer existed, what businesses existed in the buildings they see today, and the unique architecture of beautiful buildings.
I plan to publish two books on Webb City, and my third book will be on Memories of the Life of a Child who grew up in Webb City. The second volume, I should be able to send it to publishers in January, then it will be released in September 2022.
2. What is the story behind the name âZinc Cityâ?
That’s what built Webb City – zinc. When they first started mining, lead was what attracted everyone, but they kept putting zinc aside. They thought it was nothing important. Then they found out it was worth more than the lead. They had to go through all the garbage piles and remove the zinc they had put aside.
The interesting thing about zinc is that it has been used on roofs and various projects. Basically, it was the discovery of zinc that built the city. There was a big old sign, which is the photo on the cover of the book, at the west end of town near the Frisco Depot. When people got off the train, they saw this big sign saying “The Zinc City”. I love this pic. I chose the photo first and then named the book from there. Webb City had the distinction of being the capital of zinc. The name jumped out at me.
3. What inspired you to write a book on the history of Webb City?
My readers (of The Webb City Sentinel) have asked me over the years to please put my writing in a book so they can watch it whenever they want. I had all the stories I wrote for The Webb City Sentinel for 32 years, but it’s just a matter of sitting down at the computer and compiling them.
The book is 426 pages long and was published by Newman Springs Publishing. It took two years to compile.
4. How will this book be different from other history books written on Webb City?
I’ve been researching Webb City for about 32 years, and it was more information than I could fit in one book. That’s why there will be a second book, which will focus on business and highlight different people.
When I research the history of Webb City, I always like to find the unusual – something specific that no one else has found. I like to find things that grab your attention, like personal things about different people and companies. I want people to read this book and say to themselves, “I never knew that.” That’s my goal.
5. Where can I buy the book?
The book can be purchased from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and local stores including Paint Chips and Glitter, as well as Maggie Jane’s Gifts & Home DÃ©cor in Webb City. Hard covers cost $ 39.95, paperbacks $ 30.95, and the electronic edition $ 9.99.
Jeanne Newby was dubbed by a resolution of the Missouri House of Representatives in 2005 as Webb City’s historian and goodwill ambassador.