Advance is a small, fourth-class city located at the intersection of State Highway 25 and State Highway 91/Route C in northern Stoddard County, Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the city's population was 1,244; a July 2007 estimate, however, showed the population to be 1,221. Advance was founded sometime around 1882.
The history of Advance surrounds the construction of the railroad in the northern part of Stoddard County. The town was presumably founded during the construction of the Old Frisco Railroad, which was completed in 1884. The owner of a cotton plantation, Captain W. H. Whitewell of Mexican War fame, dedicated 60 acres (240,000 m2) that became the City of Advance. Originally, Advance was called Lakeville (presumably because the region was covered in swamps and lakes) and was located a short distance east from the present location. Lakeville was settled around 1858 when the first post office opened there. When the railroad was completed around 1882, it bypassed Lakeville. The townspeople wanted to relocate the town to take advantage of the railroad but couldn't decide on a site. One faction settled to the north at Toga. The other group moved west and called their settlement Advance to show that they were "advancing." The old Lakeville died in 1889 when the post office closed closed, Toga never got off the ground, and Advance thrived. By 1911, Advance was a thriving railroad town of 621 people with lumber and cotton as the major industries.
Advance is located at 37°6′15″N 89°54′42″W / 37.10417°N 89.91167°W / 37.10417; -89.91167 (37.104227, -89.911575).