Well, our road trip has made it all the way to my homeland of Missouri! In this post we visit the breathtaking Maramec Spring. It's a dark blue fresh water spring, pushing out an average daily flow of 96 million gallons of water. It's private property, owned by the James Foundation (there's a small admission fee), and includes a museum, the spring, historic iron works, an old cemetery, camping sites, great forest lookouts, picnic areas, and opportunities to fish and hike.
The water is no-joke that blue. We visited in a little of a dry spell and the water was crystal clear. I researched pictures of the place in rainier times when the water is really pumping - the spring looks like a giant jacuzzi! A foundation operated trout farm runs adjacent to the river - look closely at the picture below to see the fish!
maramec iron works
The cool water, ore, and woods nearby made this place an ideal spot for pioneer iron works. Maramec iron production was carried on between 1829 & 1876, fueled in part by the need for iron during the Civil War. As you walk around the corner from the museum & spring you'll find the iron work ruins.
Maramec Community Cemetery
We jumped in the car and drove a loop around the park - checking out the slightly creepy pioneer cemetery (a lot of kid graves), the mine, and some great lookouts of the forested grounds. When you explore this place it's hard not to think about the natives that called this area of the Ozarks home for thousands of years.
The story is a common one around here - pioneers arrived in the 1800s and trashed thousands of years of tradition and land management in just a few short years. Over-hunting, deforestation, & soil degradation meant the streams were clogged, dried up, and the wildlife gone. Efforts of communities, land owners, and private land trusts from the 1930s onward has helped establish the Ozarks and Maramec Spring we know and enjoy today:)
What an amazing place!!! If you're even remotely close to the area, check it out!
~Paul, Dad, Susan, Sis ETC
Our Road Trip Route
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