A Tour Through History
A Tour Through History
Explore the Legends of Pulaski County
Pulaski County is full of fascinating stories — wouldn’t you like to hear them all? Check out this helpful itinerary and immerse yourself in the history of our communities from our humble, frontier beginnings to our mid-century growth with the Mother Road.
Honoring Our Heroes
Begin your journey through the history of Pulaski County at the John B. Mahaffey Museum Complex at Fort Leonard Wood. Home to three U.S. Army museums in one convenient location, the Mahaffey Complex honors the lives and contributions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Army Chemical Corps, and the U.S. Army Military Police Corps with fascinating exhibits, uniforms, equipment, and much more. All three museums are free and open to the public. Also located within the complex is the Military Police Regimental Walkway and Memorial Grove, which provides a serene place for Soldiers — both active and inactive — to honor their fallen comrades.
Just up the road from the Fort Wood Main Gate, pay homage to the Black Americans who proudly served our nation at the African American USO Chimney Monument, a remnant of the Black USO Club formed in 1942.
Peer into the Past
From Saint Robert, head west on Historic Route 66 to the city of Waynesville. Here, catch a glimpse of Pulaski County as it once was at the well-preserved Old Stagecoach Stop. Built in the 1850s, this impressive structure began as a stop on the Burden & Woodson stage route before transitioning to a tavern and later a Union hospital during the Civil War. Now open to the public as a museum, visitors can tour the oldest standing structure in Pulaski County and immerse in its fascinating history.
On the other end of the square, the 1903 Route 66 Courthouse Museum stands as one of two period courthouses on the Missouri stretch of the Mother Road. Designed by notable architect and Missouri native, Henry H. Hohenschild, the courthouse served the residents of Pulaski County for more than 80 years and features an intact period courtroom upstairs that spotlights the structure’s gorgeous, 20th-century craftsmanship. Before you go, snap a selfie in front of the 8-foot Route 66 Shield on the front lawn of the courthouse!
A Tearful Memorial
In the early 1800s, the U.S. government forcibly removed tens of thousands of Native Americans from their homes in the Southeast to Indian Country in modern-day Oklahoma. Along the 800-mile journey, some stopped along the Roubidoux Creek at what is now Laughlin Park in Waynesville. One of seven Trail of Tears certified sites in Missouri, the Roubidoux Spring Cherokee Campsite tells the harrowing history of the Cherokee who camped there, illustrated by storyboards around the site detailing the trials and tribulations of their long trek.
Remembering the Rails
As Route 66 and Fort Leonard Wood helped shape the communities around Pulaski County, so too did the Frisco Railroad. In Crocker, the Frisco Depot Museum displays the history of the railroad and its influence. Housed in an authentic Frisco Railroad depot, the museum chronicles the industrial growth of Pulaski County through exhibits and memorabilia. In nearby Frisco Park, snap some photos of the Frisco Railroad Caboose.
Beginning in fall 2023, see the night sky glow over Saint Robert just as the cross-country travelers on the Mother Road did so many decades ago at Route 66 Neon Park located in George M. Reed Roadside Park. Featuring more than 10 restored neon signs accessible by concrete paths, the park offers a shimmering glimpse into yesteryear along with storyboards detailing the origins of each sign. In the meantime, stop and snap a photo of the park’s authentic M60 main battle tank!
YOUR HOME AWAY FROM HOME
With so much to see and do around Pulaski County, you’re going to need a spot to rest and recharge — this is way too much for a single day! Thankfully, our communities are home to numerous lodging options to suit your family and your itinerary. Sleep in style at our charming vacation homes, relax in the familiar comfort of our hotels, or roll out a sleeping bag under a star-studded sky at our campsites and RV parks. Whether you prefer to rough it or vacation with all the comforts of home, Pulaski County has the perfect stay ready for you!
Plan your Pulaski County Tour Through History today. We can’t wait to welcome you to the Heart of the Ozarks!