The Annual Lighting of the Pump, which sits in the middle of Main Street in La Russell, Missouri

Joplin News First

The event is quite campy and its quite fun! Watch the full parade and pump lighting!

La RUSSELL, Mo. — The pump has stood in the middle of the Main Street since 1903 according to records. There was a pump a few blocks away earlier than that but this one was set more than 100 years ago.

La Russell population has never broke 300. And the past 80 years it’s hovered around 100. It was one of the first towns settled in Jasper County, Missouri. It is where the Union Pacific Railroad decided to make a stop and that made the town. The first school in Jasper County was built there in the 1830’s.

Now back to the pump, in modern times many have said it should be taken out and removed, because every now and then someone hits it. Most usually though that is someone from out of town not paying attention because it’s in the middle of the road.

Thanksgiving night was the 11th Annual Pump Lighting. This year the theme was “Everything Good in The World”. The pump has it’s own Facebook page and the writers refer to the pump in third person. So it’s quite charming. The pump has a personality of it’s own you could say.

The people of La Russell love their little pump. And they thought about COVID and safety this year with the parade and lighting ceremony.

“11 years with zero related-fatalities (nor lost-time accidents, pretty sure). Let’s keep it that way. We all know the risks. There’s the potential for large groups of people, from various locations, gathering at various households for Thanksgiving, then all re-gathering around The Pump. In close proximity. That’s a super-spreader, buddy. Let’s not do that.”


Again this year the pump presented the Friend of the Pump Award. For community effort, to the creators of the La Russell Area Neighborhood Watch Group, Bethany and Janet.

See the pump in the Google Street View image. Use fingers to pan and zoom. It sits in the middle of Main Street and is chipped from car crashes through the years.

The parade has expanded to two blocks instead of one.

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