Columbia, MO

The Rock Bridge Memorial State Park in Missouri was dedicated to a 9-year-old child

CJ Coombs
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Rock Bridge.Photo byNarbonne1944, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is a geological preserve and public recreation consisting of 2,273 acres. It's located about five miles south of Columbia, Missouri.

This state park is special because it's dedicated to the memory of nine-year-old, Carol Stoerker, who was killed in a hit-and-run car accident on May 6, 1961. Carol was on her way to Stephens College to an opera in which she had a small role.

Carol was the daughter of a professor of speech and dramatic art at the University of Missouri, Lewis W. Stoerker. Her family, friends of the family, and people in the community raised money to purchase the park as a memorial for Carol. Donations were also given by Boone County and the City of Columbia. In 1967, the park opened.

Mr. Stoerker wanted a safe place where children could play but he also wanted to memorialize his daughter. He passed away in 1992 at age 70-71. Carol's mother, Dorothy Louise “Dottie” Gabler Stoerker, passed away on November 27, 2021, at age 96.

The park

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park entered the park system in 1967. It has a cave with an underground stream called Devil's Icebox. One of the first paper mills was built at this site this side of the Mississippi River in 1834. There was also a whiskey distillery built here in 1847.

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The stairs to enter the Devil's Icebox cave.Photo byCycoMa, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Some of Missouri’s finest examples of karst topography, restored grasslands, forests and streams rest within park boundaries. (Source.)

Karst is made up of limestone which is a soft rock that dissolves in water. It also slowly erodes as rainwater seeps into the rock. Karst landscapes "feature caves, underground streams and sinkholes on the surface."

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Photo byFacebook/Rock Bridge Memorial State Park.

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is located at 5901 S. Highway 163 in Columbia, Missouri. If you have questions, the contact phone number is (573) 449-7402. The park has eight trails. Visit here for more information about the park which contains numerous options of interest and fun. It also has seasonal hours which are listed as well.

Thank you for reading.




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Multi-genre writer and author/publisher with a BA in Eng Journalism/Creative Writing. I worked in law firms for 30+ years and retired early to pursue writing. I was born into the Air Force, so you could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, research, history, true crime, reading, art, and travel.

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