In 1870, the US Congress gave large land grants to railroad companies, hoping to encourage the westward expansion of the rail system. The town of Willard began to grow and flourish in 1884 when the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad laid the first track of line running from Springfield through Willard and Bolivar and eventually to Kansas City. This line, which later came to be referred to as the "High Line", was used by three passenger trains and two freight trains per day at the height of its operation. The railroad brought people, goods, and mail to Willard and was a means to ship agricultural produce from Willard to outside markets. Throughout the years Willard has expanded and grown into a wonderful agricultural community. New home sales are climbing as well as industrial building. Willard has added 4 new schools in the last 3 years and is a nice suburb of Springfield, MO.