The City of Sullivan, long know as the "Gateway to the Ozarks," is located on Old Highway 66 and the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad, 68 miles southwest of St. Louis, at the southern border of Franklin County. The area was founded in the early 1800's, by Stephen Sullivan who with his wife Dorcas accompanied Daniel Boone on his return trip from Kentucky to secure settlers to populate the wild and unbroken territory around the Meramec River. Upon entering the area now known as the Meramec State Park, Boone remarked, "Sullivan, this is the region that I was telling you about. In these hills you will find copper, lead and game in abundance." When the railroad finally reached the small settlement in 1858, a town was laid out that the railroad company appropriately named "Sullivan." As a rural community, Sullivan developed steadily and maintained a strong, diversified economy. The International Shoe Company, now Meramec Industries, introduced the City to its first large-scale industry in 1921. Other manufacturing plants and retail businesses continued to appear and expand in Sullivan, adding to the steadily growing economy. From 1920 to 1960 the population grew from 900 to more than 4,000, making Sullivan then the second-fastest growing city in the state. The introduction of the Pea Ridge Iron Ore Company in the 1950's propelled the area population to a regional market place. With the City's current estimated population of 6.613, the future looks just as prosperous.