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Ava, Missouri
Douglas County court house on the southeast corner of the Ava square
Douglas County court house on the southeast corner of the Ava square
Location of Ava, Missouri
Location of Ava, Missouri
Country United States
State Missouri
County Douglas
 • Total 3.30 sq mi (8.56 km2)
 • Land 3.30 sq mi (8.55 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.01 km2)
1,280 ft (390 m)
 • Total 2,894
 • Estimate 
 • Density 868.44/sq mi (335.27/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area codes 417 Exchanges: 653, 683
FIPS code 29-02674
GNIS feature ID 0735491

Ava is the only incorporated city in Douglas County, Missouri, United States. The population was 2,894 at the 2020 census. Ava is the county seat of Douglas County. The city was founded in 1871. It was renamed Ava in 1881, the town's original name having been "Militia Springs."


Ava is located in the southern portion of the Missouri Ozarks within the southern escarpment of the Salem Plateau. The lakes of the White River basin of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri lie to the south. The town is at the intersection of Missouri highways 5, 14 and 76. Mansfield is 13 miles to the north and Gainesville is about 30 miles south. Elevation of the town varies from 1,150 to 1,400 feet (350 to 430 m).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.30 square miles (8.55 km2), all of it land.

Ava is home to radio stations KKOZ 1430 AM and KKOZ 92.1 FM.


Mark Twain Forest tractor3
Old tractor displayed by the Ava Ranger Station Historic District
Mark Twain Forest tractor legend
Plaque attached to the old tractor at the Ava ranger station

The area was settled during the 1830s and Douglas County was incorporated in 1857 with Vera Cruz as county seat. In 1864 the town of Militia Springs was founded and became the new county seat in 1870. The town was platted in 1871 and renamed Ava in 1881 although not incorporated until 1908. Militia Springs was the location of an encampment of Union soldiers or Missouri Militia during the American Civil War.

During and following the Civil War a dispute was ongoing regarding the county seat between Vera Cruz to the east and Arno to the west. In 1871 the citizens of Militia Springs built a court house building and moved the records there as a compromise. However, the building was burned and then rebuilt of hand hewn timbers rather than logs and re-opened in January 1873. The court house was burned again in 1886 and replaced in 1888. The current court house on the southeast corner of the town square was constructed in 1937.

Ava Fox Trot
Entrance to the Missouri Fox Trotter showground north of Ava, Missouri

In 1910 the Kansas City, Ozark and Southern Railroad was extended from Mansfield south to Ava to service the growing agricultural and lumbering industries of Douglas County. The railroad was in operation until 1935.

Militia Springs 02
Footbridge over Prairie Creek in Militia Springs Park

A city park, Militia Springs Park, was established in 2004 along Prairie Creek on NE 3rd Street. The location is the approximate site of the Civil War era military encampment. It has a play area and pavilion.

The Missouri Fox Trotter association was organized in Ava in 1948 and the annual shows are held at the associations property just north of Ava.

The Ava Ranger Station Historic District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 134
1890 221 64.9%
1910 713
1920 845 18.5%
1930 1,041 23.2%
1940 1,393 33.8%
1950 1,611 15.6%
1960 1,581 −1.9%
1970 2,504 58.4%
1980 2,761 10.3%
1990 2,938 6.4%
2000 3,021 2.8%
2010 2,993 −0.9%
2019 (est.) 2,865 −4.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 2,993 people, 1,296 households, and 753 families living in the city. The population density was 907.0 inhabitants per square mile (350.2/km2). There were 1,494 housing units at an average density of 452.7 per square mile (174.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.6% White, 0.1% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.0% of the population.

There were 1,296 households, of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.9% were non-families. 35.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.86.

The median age in the city was 40.8 years. 22.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.2% were from 25 to 44; 22.6% were from 45 to 64; and 22.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 44.4% male and 55.6% female.


Ava R-I School District operates one elementary school, one middle school, and Ava High School.

The town has a lending library, the Douglas County Public Library.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ava (Misuri) para niños

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