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What you need to know
about Carl Junction

by Greg Hall
Landmark columnist

Sharon Koch is a lifelong resident of Carl Junction. She has spent the past 24 years as Principal Pamela George’s secretary at Carl Junction High School.

She was a font of information when asked to fill Platte Countians in on the trip to the Southeastern Missouri burg.

Here are some tips from Sharon for anyone heading south this weekend.

Team colors & nickname: “We are the Carl Junction Bulldogs. We wear red and white with some black in there too.”

Drive time from CJ to KCI: “You can probably make it in three hours but I’d give myself three and a half. You’d hate to rush past all that pretty scenery, especially the maples in Carthage. I’d take 71 Highway down because it’s four lane all the way.”

(Note: With apologies to Sharon, other sources are saying a more accurate driving time from Platte City to Carl Junction is four to four and a half hours. Guess it all depends on how fast you drive. Be safe and allow yourself plenty of time so you don't miss the kickoff.)

Good places to eat on the way: “Harrisonville has the best restaurants but that’s not too far outside Kansas City. Nevada (pronounced Ne-VAY-da) is about halfway and they have your typical Country Kitchen and taco places, nothing real exciting. Carl Junction has absolutely zero places to eat. All the local yokels hang out at Randy’s Drive Inn and eat cheeseburgers but other than that we don’t have much.”

What is Carl Junction known for? “The Bulldogs! Actually we are very proud of our academics and our school system here in Carl Junction. This is my town and I am biased but I’m proud to say we have excellent academics and people send their children here because of our schools.

How big is Carl Junction? “The town’s population is approximately 5,000 and maybe just a little over that. But we’re growing.”

Who is Carl? “I’m not sure who Carl is but the Junction part is a carryover from the 1800s when we were a booming mining town digging for ore. There were lots of streetcars in town and we were a junction for a lot of commerce and travelers. We were as prosperous as Joplin at one time but somewhere along the way they got bigger and we didn’t. We are considered a bedroom community of Joplin but most of our families are rural and work on the farm.”

Sharon described herself as a little gray-haired old lady who will be out at the stadium Saturday rooting on her Bulldogs. If you happen to see her give her a hello and buy her a burger at Randy’s.