Phelps County, Missouri
Phelps County, Missouri, was established November 13, 1857. The
county was named for the honorable John Smith Phelps, then prominent
Missourian and U.S. Congressman, and later governor of Missouri from
1877-1881. The first county court convened on November 25, 1857
in the John Dillon cabin. The historic courthouse was begun in
mid-summer of 1860, used as a union hospital during the Civil War and
served as the courthouse until February, 1994, at which time all
county offices were relocated in the new Phelps County Courthouse.
The new courthouse was dedicated on May 22, 1994.
Rolla, Missouri - is the nearest large town and offers all the
amenities and comforts of home.
Rolla will surprise and delight you with its colorful history lessons
and vivid reminder of “how things were”. Take a step back in time and
experience Rolla’s fascinating railroad history or “Get Your Kicks on
Route 66”! Catch a glimpse of a younger America along this famous
historic highway once known as the “Mother Road”.
Broadway talent can be found right here in Rolla. Ozark Actor’s
Theatre, one of only two professional theatres in Rural Missouri, and
Missouri S&T’s Leach Theatre are wonderful venues to explore the
performing arts. From orchestras to comedians, illusionist to
acrobats, the options are endless.
If galleries and museums are your forte’, Rolla has that too! Several
artists and artisans are drawn to the region by its natural beauty, so
the art scene in Rolla is a lively one. We invite you to visit area
galleries and art exhibits.
Rolla offers a wonderful variety of recreational opportunities.
SplashZone, fitness facilities, golf courses, go carts, parks with
lakes for fishing, the possibilities are endless! Some of the most
beautiful waterways are just outside the Rolla area. They are perfect
for fishing canoeing and enjoying the pristine beauty of the Ozarks.
Be sure to not miss the numerous wineries located in St. James. For
the outdoor enthusiasts, Mark Twain National Forest offers thousands
of public land for camping, hunting, hiking and exploring. Maramec
Spring is an exceptionally beautiful spring and produces an average of
96,000,000 gallons of water per day. The spring branch here is a mile
long, with no fishing allowed upstream of the road bridge. Unlike the
other three Missouri trout parks, Maramec has no separate fishing
zones. Owned and operated by the foundation authorized and funded up
by Mrs. Lucy Wortham James, 300 of the park's 1800 acres are available
for public use.
Montauk State Park
Just down the road, and offering some of the finest trout fishing in
located at the headwaters of the famed Current River. The park's
springs combine with tiny Pigeon Creek to supply 43 million gallons of
water to the river each day. The cool, clear stream is an ideal home
for rainbow trout, and the scenic valley is the perfect setting for
camping, hiking and other outdoor pursuits.
Anglers descend on Montauk State Park from March 1 to Oct. 31 for the
official trout season, and on winter weekends for a catch-and-release
season. After a day of fishing, you can tour the park's trout
hatchery, managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Early
settlers first established Montauk as a self-sufficient community in
the early 1800s. A gristmill, built in 1896, is open seasonally for
For visitors wishing to spend a night or more in the park, Montauk
offers a wide variety of choices. The large campground, equipped with
modern restrooms, hot showers and dump stations, features both basic
and electric sites. The park offers rental cabins with kitchens,
modern fourplex cabins and motel rooms for guests choosing to spend
the night indoors. A modern dining lodge opens daily during the trout
season and on weekends during the catch-and-release season.
Mark Twain National Forest
Missouri's only national forest, the Mark Twain, encompasses roughly
1.5 million acres, mostly within the Ozark Highlands. Located across
southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, the Ozark Highlands are an
ancient landscape characterized by large permanent springs, over 5,000
caves, rocky barren glades, old volcanic mountains and nationally
recognized streams. Portions of the Ozarks were never under oceans,
nor were the areas glaciated.
A trademark of the Mark Twain is plant and animal diversity. The area
is described by The Nature Conservancy as a “biologically rich
ecological resource.” The eastern upland oak hardwood and southern
pine forests converge here with the drier western bluestem prairie of
the Great Plains, creating a distinctive array of open grassy
woodlands and savannas. This rich mixture of unique, diverse and
ecologically complex natural communities (some 65 in all) provides a
home for nearly 750 species of native vertebrate animals and over
2,000 plant species. The number of species that are endemic or
restricted solely to the Ozarks eco-region (almost 200 species) rivals
those found in the tropics or glacial eco-regions.
Geologic features associated with the karst terrain and igneous
outcroppings of the Ozarks provide a wide variety of interest to the
landscape. There are sheer rock faces, underground caverns, natural
bridges, sinkholes, knobs and caves throughout the Forest. Caves
provide habitat for unique animals like cave salamanders and southern
cave fish. Shut-in creeks, whose enormous rock boulders restrict flow,
create nationally renowned white water kayaking and canoeing
Due to the karst topography, there is an abundance of natural springs
found in the area. The Ozarks are home to the world's largest
collection of “first magnitude” springs (those with over 65 million
gallons of water daily flow). Almost 3,000 springs feed rivers and
streams that flow year round. Many of these streams are so clear that
ten feet of depth appears to be only one foot deep.
Greer Spring, the second largest in Missouri, is considered to be the
most pristine and scenic in the state. Discharging an average of 222
million gallons of water per day, Greer Spring more than doubles the
flow of the Eleven Point River. The importance of the water resource
of the Mark Twain is exemplified by the designation of the Eleven
Point Scenic River, one of the first Wild and Scenic Rivers in the
nation. These natural features are a destination for many visitors to
Today the Forest's large land base is many things to many people,
containing some of Missouri's most beautiful and desirable landscapes
and providing natural settings critical for the tourism industry. The
diverse Ozark topography is the keystone of many recreational
opportunities. The Forest provides hiking, hunting, mountain biking,
horseback and OHV riding areas that complement other agencies. Over 45
million people are within a day's drive of its unique features and