Take a Step Back in Time

Roaring River State Park's Past

In the early 1800s, settlers discovered the beauty of the Ozarks and cabins began to dot the hills. By the outbreak of the Civil War, the Roaring River valley was an established community. The canyon like gorges near the river provided excellent hideouts for Civil War bushwhackers.

By the early 1900s, Roaring River had been discovered as an ideal place for fishing retreats. In 1928, Thomas Sayman, a St. Louis businessman, bought 2,400 acres surrounding the river and, within a month, donated the land to the state. Many of the park’s existing facilities were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s, including some of the buildings that make up Camp Smokey, the park’s organized group camp. Today, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources administers the park.