An Ozark Village on Shoal Creek
RITCHEY is located in a beautiful little valley in the Missouri Ozarks. It is bordered on the South by Shoal Creek with bluffs rising from its banks, and on the North by gently rolling hills. The East and West boundaries introduce you to the small farms that have been there since my earliest memories. A spring fed branch flowing through the middle of the village adds to its charm. Ritchey is a place where you can hear the birds sing, take a leisurely walk down a country road, hear the rustling waters when you sit by the creek, and recognize all passersby when relaxing on your front porch.
At the turn of the century and into the 1930's and 1940's Ritchey was a thriving community with a Train Depot, Hotel, Bank, Cannery, Stock Yards, Blacksmith Shop, Ice House, Lumber Yard, Hardware Store, Bakery, Restaurant, Grocery Stores, and other businesses which supported the town and the surrounding farming community. It also had an elementary and high school. Most of that is gone. Today, there is a small village store, a beauty shop, a barber shop that operates part time and a "concrete art" business. The rest is gone. However, the village is still quaint and the countryside is still beautiful. The current population is about half of the 126 shown on the white sign.
If you have ties to Ritchey, either as a current or former resident; or if Ritchey is part of your family heritage, I hope that you take this trip down memory lane and that as you visit with the past that you enjoy looking at the photographs of the old establishments. Some no longer exist except in our minds. Others who grew up in small towns and villages may want to picture Ritchey as their imaginary home town and thus return to their roots, simpler times, and a different lifestyle.
Ritchey provides the ideal setting and the historical past to transition successfully into a thriving arts and crafts community. A few of the old buildings and many of the old houses remain in remarkably good condition, having been maintained, remodeled, and modernized over the years. Some would be ideal for bed and breakfast operations, antique or gift shops, teas or coffee houses, and other businesses that fit in with arts and crafts communities. If you are an artist or craftsman, a writer or a poet, or an entrepreneur who enjoys these kinds of surroundings, then Ritchey may be the community that satisfies your creative needs.
The village is located on county road W, two miles North of U. S. Highway 60, East of Granby and West of Monette, Missouri. The population is about half of that shown when the picture of the sign was taken.