On the way to Kansas City, we stopped around the midway point at the small town of Arrow Rock. A version of the name originated with the Indians for a specific set of limestone bluffs along the MO River that they used to make weapons.
The bluffs made the spot popular for travelers and French trappers at the time due to the obvious landmark and nearby clean springs. The town was settled as part of the Boone’s Lick Country. Daniel Boone’s sons used a popular salt lick nearby to boil out the salt, which they then sold to St. Louis. The area was fertile and prosperous, as the river was the major transportation route for trade/goods.
The Civil War devastated the economy of Arrow Rock and began a state of decline for the town. Steamboat and river commerce was replaced by railroads. Two later fires further damaged the town. Floods have also changed the route of the river, putting it about one mile away from the town.
However, the local people have done a great job of restoring many of the historical properties in town, and you can now visit the sites with a short walk. They have several restored cabins and homes, a tavern, the gun shop, a church, a one person jail and other buildings for you to see. The main street retains its original drainage gully that was built by slaves:
The road was packed with cars due to the theater performance. Otherwise, it is a quiet town.
The town today is also well renowned for its theater productions at The Lyceum. We didn’t have enough time to see a show, but we met a gentleman in his 80s, and he invited us to go along with himself and his wife. He had a wonderful Mid-West accent, and called it Missoura. Now we can’t decide which we like better: MO or Missoura. Although we can’t really say it the same way he did; we better stick with MO. Needless to say, we were disappointed that we weren’t camping nearby for the night.
Arrow Rock has a great Visitor Center, and we were able to park the truck with the Fifth-wheel there and walk around town. Great stop for RVers!
Other Arrow Rock Fun Facts:
Walking on Main Street, you are actually walking on a part of the Santa Fe Trail!
Dr. John Sappington invented using quinine for Malaria there! Malaria was a common problem in Missouri due to the rivers. It was often referred to as ague, if you read historical biographies/literature. To this day, quinine is still used to treat Malaria; and the World Health Organization reports an estimate of approx. 1 million people each year die of the disease.
Many of the current residents have hummingbird feeders denoting a large population. At one home, we saw close to a dozen hummingbirds at a time.
During the River Town years, Arrow Rock had a feisty community and regularly had horse races down the Main Street! Those river towns must have been quite a sight.
Next stop…Kansas City, Independence and we are staying at a campground in Saint Joseph.