America’s Most Beautiful Tree Canopy - Carthage, Missouri

By: Callie Myers

America in Bloom

Known as The Maple Leaf City, Carthage was recognized by America in Bloom in 2020 as the city with the most beautiful tree canopy. There are more than 10,000 maple trees throughout the historic district. This is the first time any city in the State of Missouri has been recognized with this award.

Take the self-guided historic homes tour in the spring, summer, or fall months and enjoy the canopy and the architecture at the same time.

Historical Views

After an architectural survey in the 1970's conducted by Carthage Historic Preservation, Inc., three districts were nominated to the National Register of Historic Places: Courthouse Square District in 1980, Carthage South District in 1982, and Cassil Place in 1986. Today, visitors can tour these districts to explore outstanding examples of post-Civil War architectural styles from 1870's through early 20th century designs.

You can't visit Carthage without a stop at the historic Courthouse Square. Built in 1894-5, this Romanesque Revival building is constructed of custom limestone blocks known as "Carthage stone" and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its turrets, towers, and arches evoke a feeling of a medieval castle and can be spotted from miles away in and around the city. Inside, a wrought-iron cage elevator still operates. The Jasper County Courthouse is said to be the second most photographed building in the state of Missouri (we don't know who started that rumor, but it sounds pretty cool, right?)

Eat, Sleep, Stay

You'll find restaurants, art galleries, coffee shops, and boutiques located in unique and inviting historic buildings around the square.

Just outside of Carthage and along Route 66 is Kellogg Lake. Part of the Carthage Parks system, this 22-acre lake is a great place to throw in a fishing line (there are Catfish and Largemouth Bass!) and many covered areas to sit and enjoy. Visitors are also welcome to canoe or kayak, walk the trails, and enjoy the streams and creeks that twist through the wooded areas all around the lake.

The Carthage parks system has many beautiful parks to enjoy. Trees, fountains, historic markers fill Central Park. Along with a very special statue that pays homage to Carthage's very own Marlin Perkins. He was a zoologist by trade who became a television star when he hosted Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom from 1963 to 1985.

There's so much to see and do in Carthage, Missouri. You'll want to schedule plenty of time to take it all in.