A small settlement on the Roubidoux River became the town of Waynesville. The town was named after the famous General "Mad Anthony" Wayne, a Revolutionary War hero and Indian fighter.
A tidbit of history relates how Wayne’s body was disinterred in 1809. After boiling the body to the bare bones, as many of the bones that would fit in two saddlebags were relocated to the family plot. Every year on his birthday, legend has it, that Wayne’s ghost wanders the highway searching for his lost bones.
The visitor and even the local resident will find this to be an enjoyable place for a day trip. Less than an hour from the lake on Interstate I-44, Waynesville is on a scenic portion of the interstate. There is a really-good selection of places to satisfy the pallet, and there are a variety of shopping experiences. The Gasconade, Big Piney, Roubidoux, and Roubidoux Spring Cave are all known for bass and trout fishing. A variety of water sports entice visitors to the area, as well as the Army’s Fort Leonard Wood. There are golf courses, resorts, campgrounds, and parks to enjoy.
In 1862 the 13th Missouri Militia came into Waynesville, secured the town from pro-Southern sympathizers, and erected a fort at the crest of the hill overlooking the town and the Wire Road. The Union would remain in control of the town for the duration of the war. The road was the main supply route that ran from St. Louis to Springfield. The fort was demolished after the Civil War. Visitors can visit the site of the old fort.
The town’s oldest building, still standing, is the Stagecoach Stop located at 105 Lynn Street. The stop was also known as "Black Hotel" or "Pulaski House". It was built of logs and used as a stage coach stop and a tavern and boarding house. It was used as a Civil War hospital for Union troops who were stationed above the city at Fort Wayne. It now houses local exhibits. And, don’t miss the Old Courthouse Museum in downtown Waynesville near the Old Stagecoach Stop.
Retrace a portion of historic US Route 66. At different places, it's called Teardrop Road, Highway Z, Old Route 66, Historic Route 66, and Highway 17. State-posted signs mark most of the alignment of the road.
The history of Fort Leonard Wood dates back to just before World War II. In 1940, the War Department decided to establish a major training facility in the Seventh Corps area. Tourists can visit Fort Leonard Wood and the fort’s museums. The post is named for Major General Leonard Wood who served this country for more than forty years. He began his service in the 1880’s as a surgeon during the Apache Indian Wars. The post houses four museums that are open to the public and are free of charge for admittance. They are located on South Dakota Avenue in the Fort.
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