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Lew's Ozarks Fishing Museum Opens

leah kirk

Lew's Ozarks Fishing Museum opened this week. The museum is located in Lew's corporate headquarters, 3031 N. Martin Ave., Springfield, Mo. A vintage wooden float boat and a 1975 Ranger bass boat are among the largest items on display in the 1,000 sq. ft. Lew's Ozarks Fishing Museum. The museum showcases the history of Lew's, plus includes the J.D. Fletcher White River collection and others.

The 1,000 sq. ft. museum was incorporated into the original design of the new Lew's building, and it has been under development since the fishing tackle company occupied the facility last September. Approximately half of the museum is dedicated to the history of Lew's, with the balance of the space used to house a variety of other collections significant to the region.

"Lew Childre introduced a lot of industry 'firsts' from the 1950s to the 1980s, many of which are still used in today's fishing gear. The man and his innovations deserve a place of preservation in fishing's history," said Lew's CEO Lynn Reeves.  "We have the BB1 serial #2 Speed Spool reel here, along with many of Childre's earliest prototypes that I believe folks will find highly interesting whether they fish or don't. These are things the public need to see and we're pleased to make that possible."

                Lew's historical rods, reels, accessories, advertising materials, and photographs occupy half of the Lew's Ozarks Fishing Museum. The J.D. Fletcher White River collection consists of more than 5,000 lures, a variety of other antique fishing items and scores of old photos relevant to the late Fletcher's long history of guiding in and around the Table Rock Lake and White River area.

                Additional collections include an on-loan assortment of Clark's Water Scout baits that were originally made in Springfield by the C.A. Clark Mfg. Co., and also a display of spinnerbaits from Springfield's old 3 J Bait Company.  Numerous vintage reels of all kinds are among the many special items on display in the Lew's Ozarks Fishing Museum.

Among the most prominent museum items by size are a float boat typical of the ones once common to the upper stretches of the White River, vintage outboard motors and trolling motors, and a 1975 Ranger bass boat. For more information on Lew's and it's history, visit