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Communities page West Plains page Richards R-5

aerial view Richards R-5 includes an elementary and a middle school within the city of West Plains. The closest stream is Galloway Creek, which flows into Howell Creek, all part of the larger Upper Spring River watershed. See an aerial view of the school and surrounding area.

Each year, Edwin Woolsey's third grade classes at Richards School complete a unit on West Plains history. The students and their teacher then work together to create a mural that illustrates a local historical event. Writing prompts are used to encourage the students to retell the historical event in creative ways.

Richards Student Showcase
Community History and Fine Arts Unit

2009-"Stranger on the Tracks"

armistice day mural

It was late at night when the Memphis Night Express passed through Howell County on its way to Springfield, Missouri. Suddenly, the passenger train found itself surrounded in a timber fire covering over 100 acres. The train was heading for a railroad bridge at the bottom of the Brandsville hill. Little did the engineer know, but the bridge had also been damaged by the inferno.

Quite unexpectedly, the figure of a man appeared on the tracks waving a railroad lantern. The engineer took immediate action by applying the brakes, pouring sand on the rails, and turning the wheels in reverse. Just as the front of the engine reached the bridge, the train stopped. The passengers were pressed into service repairing the bridge. After the train was safely on the other side, everyone began searching for the stranger who had warned them. However, the mysterious individual had disappeared.

Recent Mural Projects
Armistice Day in West Plains- April 21, 1919 New City Comin’ Down    
shootout School History    
Previous Mural Projects
Shootout With the
"Ma" Barker Gang
Richards School History Early Settlers The Railroad
shootout School History Breaking Ground for the Courthouse The Railroad Comes to West Plains
Mural Project Mural Project Mural Project Mural Project
Student Stories Student Stories Student Stories Student Stories
Circus Day Battle of West Plains West Plains Explosion First Aeroplane
circus battle West Plains Explosion first aeroplane mural
Mural Project Mural Project Mural Project Mural Project
Student Stories Student Stories Student Stories Student Stories

The work of Mr. Woolsey's classes is also shared through the local newspaper, the West Plains Daily Quill. The murals hang in the Howell County Courthouse.

Teachers GuideTeachers Guide:
Community History and Fine Arts Unit