We chose to profile the James River in a 352-page all-color book because its watershed contains the largest town in the Ozarks, several impoundments, and the region’s most famous and oldest tourist destination: the Shepherd of the Hills country now known as Branson.
Each phase of development has in varying degrees impacted the next. The resulting culture is a product of art, literature, technology, commerce, national trends, and politics, intersecting with each other and the region’s own natural resources.
It’s a compelling and complicated tale. The messages are applicable to the entire Ozarks and even beyond.
Perhaps the most intriguing transformation is the change from free-flowing river to reservoirs.
Today, suburban Springfieldians in canoes floating the James often take out at Galena where the river becomes a lake.