Although often believed to have been named for the ragtime composer Scott Joplin, who lived in Sedalia, Missouri, Joplin is named for Reverend Harris  Joplin, an early settler and the founder of the area’s first Methodist congregation.

Joplin was established in 1873 and expanded significantly from the  wealth created by the mining of zinc; its growth faltered after World War II when the price of the mineral collapsed. The city gained travelers as Route 66 passed through it; “Joplin, Missouri” is among the lyrics to Bobby Troup’s  legendary song, immortalizing the city among others on the famous highway.

City of Joplin website