State Parks Stories

Missouri State Parks invites you to explore the world of nature our state has to offer. Read our stories and find a state park that's close to you.

Cool, clear and it brings out the kid in you

by Tom Uhlenbrock

SALEM, Mo. – Early settlers lowered an anvil on a rope into the turquoise waters of Montauk Spring in an attempt to measure its depth. The weight dropped 367 feet – longer than a football field - and stopped. Without reaching bottom.

“The anvil got so deep that the water pressure started pushing it back up again,” said Steve Bost, the naturalist at Montauk State Park, which is located where the spring emerged on the banks of Pigeon Creek.

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Fish, float and frolic in the Current River

Top 10 treasures in the Missouri State Museum

By Tom Uhlenbrock

Missouri State Parks

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Linda Endersby had a ready answer when asked for the strangest item in the collection of the Missouri State Museum. “Ella Ewing’s shoes,” she said. “They’re size 24s.”

Endersby is the director of the museum, which is in the State Capitol building in Jefferson City, and she knows all the surprises found in its 30,000-piece collection.

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Giant shoes, mortars and mastodons make for a fun treasure hunt

Pomme de Terre: Quietly Awesome

By Tom Uhlenbrock
Missouri State Parks

PITTSBURG, Mo. – The long, silvery body of a large fish broke the glassy surface of Pomme de Terre Lake just as Earle Hammond brought his pontoon boat to a halt at his favorite fishing hole. We hoped it was an omen of good things to come.

“That was a muskie right there, with its snout up out of the water,” Hammond said. “You don’t catch a muskie every day. Expect the best, but don’t count on it.”

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Pomme de Terre State Park: Muskie Capital of Missouri

An artist's life frozen in time

By Tom Uhlenbrock
Missouri State Parks


Guide Chris Fritsche knows what to expect of first-time visitors when he leads them down the marbled hallways of the State Capitol in Jefferson City through the heavy wood doors of the House Lounge into the vibrant world of Thomas Hart Benton.


“They’re pretty shocked – you see disbelief and surprise on their faces,” said Fritsche, an interpreter for the Missouri State Museum, which is located in the capitol building.

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Peer into Thomas Hart Benton's life

The amazing eccentricity of Bothwell Lodge

By Tom Uhlenbrock
Missouri State Parks
SEDALIA, Mo. – John Homer Bothwell would have approved of the Radiant Trail, which rambles for three miles through the fields and forests of Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site.


“He would hike great distances on a whim, get out in the woods and start walking and who knows where he would end up,” said Charles Wise, who guides visitors through Bothwell’s castle-like home.

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Bees in the walls but builder no bats in the belfry at Bothwell Lodge

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