Qulin began in the 1870s and 1880s as a small community in a densely forested region of southern Butler County. The arrival of the railroad in the 1880s allowed the timber to be harvested and shipped north to Poplar Bluff which led to growth. By the 1920s, the area around Qulin was cleared enough of timber to allow the cultivation of cotton.
J. A. Hefner owned a store on the south end of town. In 1927, he moved his business to the north of town by putting rollers under the building and having a mule slowly pull it along the street. The store remained open while it was moved and locals said that you might enter the store and then exit it a half block down the road.