Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman recently discussed the improvement plans for the Roubidoux Springs Cherokee Campsite, outlining what will be coming next for the historic site.
The site was certified as a Trail of Tears historic site in 2006 through the efforts of the city and the Downtown Beautification Committee. Hardman credits local Charley Hartley with “getting the ball rolling.”
Plans have been in the works since the certification to improve the area. Recently, a paved interpretive area was constructed as part of the ongoing improvements to Laughlin park and the encampment area.
All of the planned improvements will not be finished this year, but a good number will be done this spring, according Hardman. Among the improvements that will be finished, is the paved interpretive area which boasts three pedestals facing the Roubidoux. The pedestals will give a history of the area and its relationship to the Trail of Tears.
Waynesville was a stopping place on the Trail of Tears and is mentioned several times in multiple historic documents, most notably the journal of B.B. Cannon from 1837. Excerpts from the documents can be read at the city of Waynesville’s website at www.waynesvillemo.org/encampment.
The Laughlin Park area commonly floods during the spring and other heavy rainy periods, but Hardman said that the improvements will be “engineered to handle the flooding.”
Also on the list of improvements for the campsite is an interpretive walking trail which will include exhibit signs with further information about the area and the Trail of Tears, as well as lighting near the bridge and other areas. The trail winds along the Roubidoux, from the spring, beneath the Route 66 era bridge’s unique architecture and into the park.
Hardman hopes the site will add to the touristic appeal of Waynesville, which already boasts a museum in the old courthouse and the Old Stage Coach Stop, as well offering other historical connections such as Old Route 66 running through town and the town’s Civil War history. Hardman said she hoped to add a community event associated with the encampment like the ones the city already has like Frog Fest, Old Settler’s Day and the other festivals hosted on the Square and in the park.