Arrow Rock State Historic Site

toy dog on sign
Dakota here! Today I arrived in Arrow Rock, Missouri to visit Arrow Rock State Historic Site. Lewis & Clark passed by the Arrow Rock bluff on June 9, 1804. Clark reported “Several small Channels running out of the River below a {Bluff} & Prairie (Called the Prairie of Arrows) where the river is confined within a width of {300} yds.” Clark passed by the site again on Sept. 18, 1808 while returning from his mission to establish Fort Osage and remarked the locale was “a handsome spot for a town.” The town was founded 21 years later in 1829 and given its name because American Indians used the rock here on the bluff to create their arrows!
toy dog near a brick building
I got my picture taken in front of the J. Huston Tavern because it is a relic – it was built in 1834! This building houses the oldest continually operating restaurant west of the Mississippi; can you believe it has been serving customers for over 180 years?! I was amazed at what great condition the building is in. It was constructed by an Arrow Rock settler as his family home, and when many immigrants started passing through the area, he offered them a place to stay and eat. It expanded, became a restaurant, and still is to this day. I couldn’t leave before stopping in their Ice Cream Shop to get a tasty treat! I then wandered down the hill behind the tavern and found a spring that bubbles fresh water to grab a nice cool drink. I learned that travelers who passed through here all the way back in the 1800s collected water from the same spring!
toy dog near brick building
Next I went to the boardwalk stores. This row of stores were originally two and three story buildings, but sadly burned down in 1872. A second fire wiped out the stores again in 1901. Only the first floors of the stores were rebuilt after that. Some years later, Arrow Rock State Historic Site was formed after people showed interest in preserving the tavern. Today, the Historic Site includes lots of special buildings to check out: the old courthouse and jail, houses owned by a prominent artist, and another by a doctor. There’s also a visitor center where you can learn about the area’s exciting history and browse a gift shop. They even hold an annual heritage festival here, and have a renowned theater. Plus there’s a campground that I stayed overnight at (I love “ruffing” it in the outdoors!) I loved coming here today, feeling like I went back in time, and getting to experience some good old Missouri history. I think it’s so special that this place has been used for so long by so many people: Indians, settlers, travelers, and still today by residents and visitors – like me!

Learn more about Arrow Rock State Historic Site:

Learn more about the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail:
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Last updated: November 13, 2018