It is true that most twenty-somethings don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the historical significance of these hills. Some might blame my love (or obsession, according to others) with this region on my blood. Seven generations of my ancestors have called the Ozarks home, and I’m proud of that connection.
But the tie to this region is personal in other ways as well. I grew up on a farm outside Marshfield, and except for a three-year stint in Norway, I’ve lived here all my life. Now that I’m home, my greatest desire is to preserve the area’s unique heritage and history for future generations.
This region really is like no other. As a colorful quilt, its pieces create something of great beauty. The Ozarks’ history is filled with hard work, drive and determination — and a present built on tradition and some of the nicest, most interesting people you’ll ever meet.
Those are the stories I want to tell. And I’ve got the passion to do it, as well as the determination (and yes, stubbornness) of many an Ozarker before me.
Kaitlyn McConnell began writing about the Ozarks when she was 17 years old. The “Landmarks” columnist for The Marshfield Mail, Kaitlyn tracked down nearly 80 different historic sites in Webster County for the paper’s readers. The column resulted in her selection as the History Channel’s Student of the Year in 2007.
A longtime volunteer with the Webster County Historical Society, she served as the organization’s president from 2008-2009. In 2011, Kaitlyn authored a pictorial book on the history of Marshfield which was chosen as a Best Book by Missouri Life magazine.
Today, Kaitlyn lives in Springfield where she is employed as Media Relations Coordinator for CoxHealth. In her spare time, she loves poking around — and writing about — new corners of the Ozarks.