Fascinating History in Pulaski County Missouri
Pulaski County Missouri is rich in history. Set in the beautiful Ozark hills, on a recent hosted trip to Pulaski County I had a chance to visit some cool historic sites. These sites included Route 66, a Stagecoach Museum and Trail of Tears monuments as well as some interesting landmarks. We started our day at the Gasconade Hills Resort. Located just off historic Route 66. We were on the historic Route right off the bat and in route for history in Pulaski County!
We headed to Waynesville to ride the Mother Road. There are 33 miles of Route 66 to see history in Pulaski County.
Frog Rock was a fun overlook though that appears to be a frog watching over the historic route. In Waynesville we drove past several fun stops and enjoyed the Route 66 sites.
While I think of Route 66 being historic, I realize historic is a state of mind. At Laughlin Park near Roubidoux Springs Cherokee Campsite, we read a plaque reminding me Route 66 goes back even farther than what I tend to think of. The plaque states, “A Road through History – How did you get here today? There’s a good chance that you traveled on a route used by travelers for centuries. Nearby I-44and the historic Route 66 follow paths used by American Indians for trace and travel more than 500 years ago…”
Before Route 66 was Route 66, the telegraph line connecting this path brought the trail the distinctive name, “The wire road”. It was in 1926 that the road became part of Route 66. Living near Route 66 in central Illinois, I know the International draw of this road/ There is magic in the Mother Road.
Roubidoux Bridge, a concrete arched bridge built in 1923 is part of a road improvement project on State Route 14. A brochure on a walking tour in Waynesville states, “the graded earth and gravel road connecting St. Louis with Joplin.” Three years later Route 14 was designated Route 66. They denote that it wasn’t paved through in Pulaski County until 1930.
We took time to head to Crocker and see the Frisco Depot Museum. Sadly it was closed. I would have liked to learn more about this depot. It was the last to serve railroad passengers in Pulaski County. Fun history in Pulaski County.
There are not many stories that bring to light the white mans ill treatment of our Native American brothers and sisters as clearly as the Trail of Tears. In Laughlin Park near Roubidoux Spring on Saturday Morning, we walked the lovely trail that documented the story of the Cherokee encampment.
The history states, “In 1830 Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, providing “for an exchange of lands with Indians residing in any states or territories, and for their removal west of the river Mississippi.” This act changed the Cherokee Nation forever. Their leaders fought against this act but by 1832 they were running out of options. One by one, sometimes in chains, tribes were removed. The Choctaw, the Muscogee Creeks, the Chickasaw, the Seminoles were all forced from their homelands and moved to Indian Territory-now known as Oklahoma.”
When the Cherokee were not moving on their own, they were forced to move. At this place where placards proclaim the story. 350 Cherokee on December 9, 1837 set up camp in the fields along Roubidoux Creek. There is another sign where the Cherokee made their crossing across the creek along with wagons, supplies, people and dogs. The spring is cool even in the summer months and the area is very popular with cave divers.
There is great sidewalk. This made for a wonderful early morning walk and a chance to learn history in Pulaski County.
Fort Waynesville is only a historic marker today. In June of 1862 after the Union’s Thirteenth Militia marched into town they established a fort overlooking Rabidoux spring. The Waynesville Walking Tour Brochure shares the town was divided between the Union and Confederacy. It states, “Between the soldiers and the pro-Southern irregular troops called “bushwackers” much of the town was destroyed by the end of the war.”
The fort was built to protect the “wire road”a main supply route that ran from St. Louis to Springfield.
This was perhaps one of our favorite stops on our trip to learn history in Pulaski County.
This pre-Civil War building was built as a log cabin by William Walton McDonald in the mid-1850’s. The original structure was two log cabins connected by an open dog-trot. The roof our guides said could be dropped in case of fire. One cabin was used originally as a residence and the other as a stage coach stop for passengers. The museum is called “Doorways to the Past” because each room, each doorway represents a different era. The building has been a Stage Coach Stop, a hotel, a Civil War hospital, and later apartments in the 40’s and 50’s.
This amazing tour took us from basically the wild west time to the Civil War, to the building of Fort Leonardwood and beyond. The museum archeology and restoration of the museum are included as well. This is a wonderful place to see history progress and see what life and history in Pulaski County was like.
There were many cool places like the Courthouse Museum that we just ran out of time to go to. Check out Pulaski County USA to learn all the neat historical sites there are in the area!
If you know of some I should see when I return in September for Cow Days, let me know!