Roaring River State Park in Barry County, Missouri offers more than history for its visitors

CJ Coombs
Fish hatchery at Roaring River State Park.Hog Farm, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
The story of stone and bone left behind by the American Indian is today more important than ever before. It has been revealed that Indian villages or settlements were at one time or another situated on practically every spot near Roaring River. (Source.)

The recreation area of 4,294 acres of the Roaring River State Park is located about eight miles south of Cassville, Missouri in Barry County. If you love to fish, you might check out trout fishing in this river.

Thomas Mark “Doc” Sayman

Thomas Mark “Doc” Sayman, a self-made millionaire and medicine-show man, donated this land. He made a lot of money while peddling patent medicines and soaps with his traveling tent shows in the early 1900s. Believe it or not, he was with the P.T. Barnum Circus too. Sayman's life is an interesting story in itself.

When Sayman wasn't successful in getting the game and fish commission to buy property at Roaring River Spring, he ended up purchasing 2,400 acres and turned that land over to the state. Between 1933 and 1939, the land was developed by the Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Other historic sites on the land

In 1985, the National Register of Historic Places listed some resources that go back to the 1930s. It's always an interesting experience to visit a historic park but when there are historic elements that still rest inside the park, that makes it a good journey. Some of those notable resources inside Roaring River State Park are listed below.
Roaring River State Park Bath House – Cassville,

The Bath House, or clubhouse, was constructed between 1936 and 1938. It's a very rustic stone building consisting of one story. The way the building curves makes it more interesting too. It was part of a lake and beach development project that wasn't completed by the CCC.
Camp Smokey--Company 1713 Historic

The historic district of Camp Smokey/Company 1713 includes three buildings and one structure that made up the central compound of the CCC installation. These buildings were constructed in 1933. They included an outdoor fireplace and Barracks No. 2 through No. 4. Barracks No. 2 was the foreman's quarters. Barracks No. 3 was the hospital, and Barracks No. 4 was a building for education and supplies.
The dam and spillway at Roaring

The stone and earthen dam or spillway were built in 1865 by William McClure to power his mill. His mill was destroyed in 1920. The CCC reconstructed the dam in 1933 which was necessary and important to develop and maintain the fish hatchery.

In 1865, William McClure constructed a stone and earth dam impounding the waters that gushed from the underground spring to form Roaring River. Two openings left in the mill pond wall became mill races were spillways that exist today in their original locations, forming attractive waterfalls. (Source.)

The CCC built the Deer Leap Trail between 1933 and 1939. This is a man-made trail featuring the Deer Leap Overlook. This trail provides visitors the opportunity to view the spring and the hatchery.
Roaring River State Park Honeymoon

The Honeymoon Cabin may be small but memorable. This rustic cottage is rectangular in is in a secluded location. It was built by the CCC between 1933 and 1939 on a stone foundation. This small cottage is still a location for visitors.
The Roaring River State Park

The Hotel, otherwise known as the Lodge, is a three-story rectangular building made of native stone and wood. This building was constructed by the CCC and Works Progress Administration relief workers in 1938. This remarkable building is no longer open to the public.

Shelter Kitchen No. 2 is a rustic log structure containing a flagstone floor and two fireplaces. The Rest Room is a small rectangular building made of stone. Both were built by the CCC in 1934. These structures are well-preserved.

Below is a video that provides good examples of what you can expect to see if you visit Roaring River State Park. Some of the views are stunning.

Thanks for reading!

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms. Thinker, giver, and lover of life and retired early to be a writer. Born into Air Force service life, life has taken me to Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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