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Old 03-19-2009, 05:12 PM
Location: this side of knoxville tn...
253 posts, read 805,447 times
Reputation: 274


Hello, as my hubby continues his job search, he has got a good chance at one in Rolla, should know for sure withen the month. He has been thru there few times(passed by that is) and we both have visited MO in general lots of times and love it.
But...back to Rolla....i read thru some other posts, and already got the geist of electric bills, etc, not much different then here in Tennessee, and heck of alot cheaper then we have paid in other states...lol
Did pull up the local newspaper...seems like rentals are decent price, BUT...are they DECENT??? meaning, nice homes, nice yards, nice neighborhoods, etc. ive tried the usual craigslist, which is nice, ya can get avg rates as well as pics, but alas..Rolla doesnt have much listed to give us a good feel. we are not looking for McMansions...yuk, but want better then a dump....lol
anyone care to chime in on areas to avoid living?? we would prefer in the country withen 30 min drive of town. have 3 kids, so what are the schools like, so far, hearing decent things back on them.
What is there for shopping, such as walmart, kmart, etc?? we could care less about starbucks and chain resturants, but would like decent everyday needs type store, decent grocery, and a good mom and pops type resturant with good food!!....lol
we like to buy our beef by the side....any recommendations for that area that sells good beef, as well as hog.
beyond that, we dont care about the bar scene, we are a family that enjoys outdoors stuff, free stuff, hiking, camping and most of all...FISHING!!!, so feel free to chime in on what there s for all that there. we like walks int ha parks, bike rides, small town parades, festivals, ect, etc, we are small town folks, so we look forward to Rolla as being small town.
if shopping isnt in rolla, where does people go??? such as the weekend day our teen daughter begs us to take her to some sort of a mall and bore us to peices....lol
if the job goes thru, we look forward to moving to Rolla and making LOTS of friends!!! our BBQ grill is ready for get togethers!!! take care all!! thanks!!!
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:15 PM
Location: The City of St. Louis
938 posts, read 3,505,582 times
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1. Housing: You can find a wide range of neighborhoods in Rolla. Homes run from new construction to dumpier college and low income rentals, and everything in between. Rolla is a very cheap place to rent a house...we had a 6-bedroom their for $1000 a month. Not in the nicest neighborhood (although a very safe one) or with a large yard, but still very cheap. A better family house will likely run quite a bit more. Craigslist won't have much from Rolla, but you may want to try Rollanet (RollaNet Classifieds).

I wouldn't say there is anywhere in Rolla to avoid living. Some of the neighborhoods are lower-income and have houses that aren't in the greatest of shape, but the entire town is really very safe and suitable for living. Rolla is a small town, so if you are willing to have up to a 30 minute drive, you have a LOT of beautiful countryside to choose from as well as other small towns (St. James, Edgar Springs, and Newburg, although the latter seems quite run down).

I don't have any firsthand experience with the Rolla schools, but I would imagine they are quite good. Many professor's children attend the Rolla schools.

2. Shopping: There is a Wal-Mart, and there was a K-Mart, but it may have closed down. Several grocery stores are also in town. You can get everything you need for day to day life in Rolla, but any serious shopping (a mall, Best Buy, etc) will require a day trip to Springfield or St. Louis, which are 100 miles in either direction on I-44.

Rolla has a fair number of good restaurants...awesome pizza at Alex's, several good Chinese restaurants, a couple delicious Mexican restaurants, and even two sushi restaurants. A Slice of Pie is a bakery that serves some absolutely amazing pie, although not a whole lot else.

3. Outdoors: Rolla is ideally situated within the Ozarks. There is a lot of good fishing, you can fish for trout within 15 minutes of Rolla on Little Piney Creek, and a slightly further drive away gets you to good trout fishing at Meramec Springs and Mountauk State Parks. There is also good bass fishing on the Gasconade and Big Piney rivers, which are also close. A district of the Mark Twain National Forest also is located close to Rolla, and has several hiking trails. Within a 2 hour drive south of Rolla you can be in some pretty wild and scenic places.

Overall, I think you would really enjoy Rolla. It is not perfect and does have its problems, but overall it isn't a bad town. I spent 4 years there for college myself, and while it isn't the most exciting place to go to college, if you enjoy the rural lifestyle you will most likely really enjoy Rolla. The university adds a slice of diversity to the town that you won't find elsewhere in the Ozarks.
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:42 PM
Location: Rolla, Phelps County, Ozarks, Missouri
1,069 posts, read 2,561,907 times
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Rolla is a good place to live. I've been here since 1984, and I expect to live here until I die, unless the Lord tells me differently.

This is a small town that's a little too big for its britches. The chamber and the city like to think of us as a little St. Louis, but in reality Rolla is just like any other small Missouri town. The only difference is we have a branch of the state university here. Our population is around 16,000. We've got between 4,000 and 5,000 students, last I heard. Take them away, and take away all the jobs associated with them, and what do you have? Just as I said, another Missouri small town.

We've got all the shopping a person needs. I don't know what is meant by "serious shopping." I get all I need right here with trips to Wal-Mart, Lowe's, The Family Center, Sands Farm and Home.

We've got the Route 66 Summerfest coming up in early summer and the Central Missouri Regional Fair in late summer. In between is the Lions Club Fourth of July carnival.

If you're a musician and get here in town, you can join the summer town band and help with the weekly concerts up on the lawn in front of Castleman Hall.

We've got plenty of hunting and fishing.

We love bluegrass music around here, and there are three or four public jam sessions every month where you can join in.

This is a town full of people who go to church every week and volunteer in various community service endeavors. You can get as heavily involved as your schedule permits.

Go to rollanet.org and browse for more information.

Also, I suggest you go to kmst.org and listen to the streaming audio, especially on Saturday nights from 7-10 p.m. and Sunday morning from 7-9 a.m.

I have a little blog of my own that you can find by clicking on my name; it can give you a little insight on Missouri rural life.

There's a fear among transplants, voiced often on this forum, about fitting in, and there's always a caution that transplants shouldn't complain or suggest changes. That isn't a worry you need have here. Rolla is a town full of transplants, given the nature of our employment sector. All of the professors and their wives are outsiders, and we have lots of government jobs filled by people who transfer in here. Rolla is a town of outsiders, so you can be assured that you'll fit in.

Don't worry about complaining. That is what Rolla folks do best. They gripe constantly about the city council, the school board, the hospital, the newspaper, the lack of anything to do here, the lack of chain stores, blah, blah, blah. It gets tiresome, but you escape it by going to the woods or the river.

Ozarks Boy
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:16 PM
Location: MO Ozarkian in NE Hoosierana
4,682 posts, read 12,055,966 times
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OA did great job above. I also went to college there, in addition to living in the area for ~25 years. ozarksboy also captured the town & area very well. It is a good community - there are frustrating things, mostly political and egos, but if go out into the rural area as you said 30 minutes away, and you'll have your piece of paradise.

Will add that yes K-Mart is still in operation, there is also a Sears and a JC Penny... many other local stores too, even a fairly good bicycle shop, Route 66 Bicycles. Lane Springs is another good place to chill and relax - south of Rolla of US63 on the Little Piney River [where OA mentioned too for fishing]. Yea, head to StL, Springfield, Columbia for the big-city style shopping w/ your teen daughter, all are couple hours away, on good roads.

If you haven't seen these, might be of some help too:
Missouri's Meramec Region: Economic Development, Business Opportunity, Industrial Sites, Tourism, Manufacturing, Education, Environment, Relocation
Phelps County
What's in Rolla - City of Rolla, Missouri (http://www.rollacity.org/what.shtm - broken link)

As mentioned, St James is another nice town in the area, about 15 minutes to the East.
City of St. James, Missouri - Tourist Information Center (http://www.stjamesmissouri.org/city/tic.html - broken link)
St James Missouri St James Chamber of Commerce Discover the Ozarks' Best

Speaking of which, when lived in the area, would buy 1/2 hog and beef from place near St James... will look that up, been too many years to recall. But they didn't use any steroids, chemicals, etc. and quality was excellent, as was price. There are quite few other places too in the area.

Some other resources to plan your outdoor activites:
Mark Twain National Forest - Home Page - US Forest Service
outdoors -- Missouri Things to See and Do (http://www.visitmo.com/outdoors - broken link)
Missouri Department of Conservation
Rolla is also home to Mark Twain National Forest office, as well as MO DNR [or whatever they are called now by the governor this month ] - both relatively close to each other on the western side of town - lots of great peoples and resources/maps there in both places. The Missouri Conservation Dept also has a top-rated monthly magazine, highly recommend subscribing to it too... its 'free' [tax money at work].

Curious, you question about houses IN the city of Rolla, but indicate that ya's would really like to live ~30 miles out in the country... is there a preference towards one or the other? Recall that the towns are where the schools are, so of course the further away, the longer bus/travel time there'd be too. To my knowledge, both St James and Rolla have quite good school systems - as does Edgar Springs, but HS students would go to Newburg or Rolla.

Good luck... holler back with more questions as ya need.

PS: in the rural areas, most likely you will have your electric provided by a co-op; great people there also, wonderful service. Depending on where yas would land, could be, for example one of these two:

Last edited by ShadowCaver; 03-19-2009 at 08:26 PM..
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Old 03-20-2009, 09:23 AM
Location: this side of knoxville tn...
253 posts, read 805,447 times
Reputation: 274
Default great info!!! thanx!!

thank you all for geat info!!!
I wasnt worried about Rolla being a small town, i grew up in such a small town in rural Okalahoma, that the critters out numbered the folks...lol
my husband is from the north, and not worried about fitten in, for some odd reason(lmao) everyone tends to like him, heck, he had no trouble fitten in down here in the south, but he never worries.
We are not big city people, most "city" we prefer is around 30 thou people, which is small to most, but big enough for us....lol
we are country folk, hate living in town, we currently live in a subdivision and HATE it....if it wasnt for a few good neighbors, we would be miserable. we prefer the sound of crickets, able to see the stars, and actually smell the breeze verses sounds and smells of cars and such, So yes, the country would be our first preferance, but asked about in town in case right off, thats our option.
The job, if comes thru is with forest service, and so housing may be furninshd, but those tend to be to secluded when you have kids, so want somewhere where they would have some friends withen a bike ride or walk away.
To the poster who mentioned a place they used to get side of beef...that info would be great...you could PM me if ya want with that.
will so hope to find something we could raise our own chickens and such, we used to have our own place when stationed in idaho that we did this.
We are retired military(AF) but still young, hubby is 49, im 37, is there a good mix of folks our age or is it mostly collage kids??
We are quiet folks, except when we ride our harley, but we dont belong to a group...we just like to go for rides in the country alone or with friends that ride to.....anyother riders there(dont have to be a harley....we are willing to look the other way....lol)
ps....as you can tell, we have great sense of humor...we love to have folks over for cookouts and card games....hope we will fit in!!!! lol
looken forward to fishing there....down here in TN, omg....we have gone in 50 mile radius all year and caught nothen....its terriable here...but i still love to go!!
To the poster about "serious shoppen" I ment, either a walmart thing or good sized mom and pops where i can get the basics, i;e...toilet paper, cleaners...shampoo...etc.
What about second hand stores/flea markets? love to find bargains!!!
heard about the pizza(which usually is always good in collage towns!) and the other ones, but no diners with good old fashioned home cooked typw food??? oh....that will be sad, oh well, guess i will just cook more at home....lol, good thing i love to cook!!
MO sounds like a nice place to live, and Rolla sounds like it will be a great fit for us....it saddened me to see buisnees are leaving the town from what im reading....if city gov isnt worken on bringing in more jobs, then as a town...everyone should gather and keep getten under their skin till they work harder on getten places to come in and offer jobs.....give 'em the what for and push push push!!
someone mentioned i think about the town in general? is it clean? meaning, does they take pride in it? flowers in pots....sweep the walks? I think its important that small towns take pride in themselves...that also helps drawl buisness and such.
As far as going to the "city"....my teen daughter likes the mall...now and then, what teen girl doesnt...lol, but.....she doesnt have live at it...she still likes to play in the mud and ride her bike....lol, and i dont care for St louis really, have traveled thru there few times, and DREAD the area....wouldnt mind going to the zoo...but other then that...i doubt we would ever really go there for anything.
ok....before everyone falls alseep cuz i rambled...i will go for now, will check back in and read new post....menawhile, just wait and see if the job comes thru...could be a few days to a month till we know for sure. Meantime, i look forward to chatten with all of you and getten to know the area more.
My husband family started out in MO before moving to MI years ago, he doesnt think there is any family left, and hasnt been to where they lived since a child, but recalls it well, but cant find it on any map again....so he wants to post a discription of area and what it was near and see of anyone knows of it, etc.
hope everyone has a good weekend!!!!! and get your tators and lettuce in theground this week, I heard already this is last week in MO for that...which sucks, means f we get there, i will only have time for half a garden....oh well....lol
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Old 03-20-2009, 11:26 AM
419 posts, read 1,182,073 times
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The guys wrote a good description of Rolla. I have kids in elementary and Jr. High and I think the schools are good (nothing to compare it to though - it's the only one they've ever attended). All the teachers have been great. We don't have gangs (that I know of) and I imagine there are drugs in school, but none of the parents I know have had trouble with that. Probably depends on who your kids hang around.

I think you will fit in very well here. When we want to go to a bigger place, we head to Springfield. Plenty of restaurants and shopping there, at least for our wants. Much easier to navigate and no really dangerous parts either. Branson is about 3 hours away.

I've always heard that Rolla is cliquish, but since I married into a very old and established family, I haven't experienced that. Since you will be 'part' of the forest service you will probably find a niche there. Not sure if there is any Harley type clubs around. We have horses and there are several saddle clubs. There are lots of little community things going on in the smaller towns in the area and we never have a problem finding something to do.

Hope the job works out and best of luck!
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Old 03-20-2009, 11:47 AM
Location: The City of St. Louis
938 posts, read 3,505,582 times
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You can definitely find a place in the country where you can hear the crickets, see the stars, and smell the flowers within just a few minutes of Rolla. The Forest Service office is on the northwest edge of town, and you can literally be out in the country within a 10 minute drive of there. I'm not sure about finding rentals outside of town, but I'm sure you will be able to find a place to buy.

I heard that the Sawmill Cafe and the Tenth Street Dinner House both have some good down-home cookin', but never made it over to either place during my time in Rolla. Maybe some of the other posters, who also described Rolla very well, will have some more info on food.

Overall the town is fairly clean, but not squeaky clean. Downtown has nice sidewalks and planters/trees. Some of the neighborhoods are really nice and well taken care of, others aren't. I wouldn't really consider it dirty, but not exceptionally clean either.

If you don't like St. Louis, Springfield is the same distance away, and is much easier to navigate, as Silvermouse said. It also has the Dickerson Park Zoo and a nice mall, and pelnty of other shopping...although the St. Louis Zoo is world-class and free.

Rolla seems pretty split between the college crowd and people who live full-time in the town. There are around 6,000 students in the college, relative to the town's population of 16,000. There are plenty of people in your age group in Rolla...probably just as many as there are college students. I saw a fair number of Harleys running around in Rolla....a guy even has a custom chopper shop called "Sixth Street Choppers", so I imagine that you could find some friends to ride with.
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Old 03-20-2009, 12:41 PM
Location: MO Ozarkian in NE Hoosierana
4,682 posts, read 12,055,966 times
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lol, enjoy reading your posts...

Yes, Rolla does take pride in its appearance - has done remarkably well in that endeavor over the years, flower pots, signs, etc. Not perfect, but it is nice... all things being relative.

As to home-cooked meals, those are also quite prevalent too... Cookin' From Scratch, located just a bit to the west off I-44, is very good; as are many others in the area, too many to list here. Johnny's Smokestack is/was famous for its BBQ, and yes Alex's Pizza is by far the bestest anywhere - when back in the area, I get a couple extra partially cooked to bring back with me, freeze for when urge hits. Others prefer Pryor's, so its like a Coke vs. Pepsi thing...

St Louis, I know puts many people off, but honestly, it is a good place to get to know and explore and even enjoy. The zoo is great, as is many other parts of the city/area there too. But, of course, its durn good to get back out into the country and relax again...

Second-hand stores are also around,,, as are auctions - miss going to those. Used to be a fun/enjoyable weekend; meet some people, find some treasures/bargains, partake of some tasty vittles. Which reminds me of church/community socials - home-made ice cream, burgers, fish frys, etc. also being made. Good means to meet others, learn more about the area - and I don't believe you will have much trouble finding those in similar age range... it is quite diverse, even taking out the college crowd from the picture.

As OA mentioned, the region is gorgeous - many varied opportunities to get lost, have fun, enjoy the outdoors,,, miss it terribly. Coming from Knoxville, where the land is even more rugged, you will I imagine feel at home though due to the similarity of the green and overall topography.

Will DM you regarding the beef/pork places.
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Old 03-20-2009, 03:48 PM
Location: Rolla, Phelps County, Ozarks, Missouri
1,069 posts, read 2,561,907 times
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About food in Rolla:

There's a couple places downtown with home-cookin': Granny's Sawmill and Leona's Kitchen.

Matt's Steakhouse is a step or two above that; Zeno's is the best in fine dining we have to offer.

There are a couple buffets: Sirloin Stockade, G&D Steakhouse.

For some reason, Alex's Pizza is the top choice of the college crowd and Pryor's is the No. 1 choice of the townies and county residents. Law enforcement officers really like Pryor's. Of course, we've also got the chain pizza places: Pizza Inn, Pizza Hut, Little Caesar's, Imo's, Papa John's and Domino's.

We've got an abundance of oriental restaurants, both Chinese and Japanese.

Cookin' From Scratch, just a hop and skip over at Doolittle, also offers home coookin' and is the only place you can find around here with chicken-fried steak breaded right on the premises rather than pulled out of a box and dropped in the grease. Their skillet-fried chicken is mighty choice, too.

The best barbecue is either a quick trip over to Cuba to Missouri Hick BBQ or over to St. Robert for Sweetwater Barbecue.

There's also a bar/grill in restaurant called Joe and Linda's Tater Patch that offers some good food. Their baked potatoes are a meal in themselves. They have good catfish, too. I think they have a Biker Night each week. Tater Patch used to be a rough place where knife-fighting clinics were regularly held but I think it is a safe place now. It's a bar and I'm a Baptist, but I go there for the good food anyway.
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Old 03-20-2009, 03:59 PM
Location: Rolla, Phelps County, Ozarks, Missouri
1,069 posts, read 2,561,907 times
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Originally Posted by ShadowCaver View Post
Second-hand stores are also around,,, as are auctions - miss going to those. Used to be a fun/enjoyable weekend; meet some people, find some treasures/bargains, partake of some tasty vittles. Which reminds me of church/community socials - home-made ice cream, burgers, fish frys, etc. also being made. Good means to meet others, learn more about the area - and I don't believe you will have much trouble finding those in similar age range... it is quite diverse, even taking out the college crowd from the picture.
When the OP and her husband get to Rolla, they should each week find copies of the Ad Tracker and the Weekly Trader; there they will find scores of auctions going on throughout this part of the Ozarks.

For second-hand shopping, there is the Rolla Antique Mall between here and St. Jim and also a couple of the same kind of places over at Cuba. I think there's another big antique mall at Steelville.

Every Saturday from May through October at the Phelps County Fairgounds there is a farmers market that also includes second-hand sales. There's also a farmers market Saturday mornings in the parking lot at Big Lots/Kmart and on Tuesday mornings downtown at one of the so-called Festival Lots.

If the OP gets here in a month, there will still be time to get stuff in the ground. She can also do fall and winter gardening.

ShadowCaver is right about all the socials, benefits, fish fries, rat killin's, etc. that we have around here. In February, we just had the top social event of the season, the Kiwanis Pancake Day. There's a lot more stuff like that throughout the year.

We have plenty of bluegrass jam sessions and gospel singings. There are plays to go to at the university and the high school, as well as concerts.

I don't know why people move here and complain there's nothing to do. Rolla has a pretty vibrant social life, I think.
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