Phelps County, Missouri, is located in the heart of the state and is known for its fascinating history. Here are seven interesting facts about Phelps County that you may not know.
1. Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears, a dark chapter in American history, passed through the county in 1838. The Cherokee people were forcibly removed from their lands in the southeastern United States and marched westward to Oklahoma. During their journey, they traversed the Meramec River in Phelps County.
2. The Rolla Mural
The Rolla Mural, located in downtown Rolla, is a unique piece of art that showcases the county's history. It depicts over 200 years of life in Phelps County, including scenes of Native American culture, early settlement, the Civil War, and modern-day life.
3. State Schools
Phelps County is home to two state schools, Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) and the Missouri School for the Deaf. Missouri S&T is a top-ranked engineering school that has been educating students since 1870, while the Missouri School for the Deaf has been providing education for deaf and hard-of-hearing students since 1851.
4. Camp Rolla
During World War II, Phelps County was home to Camp Rolla, a prisoner of war camp that held German soldiers captured during the war. The camp was one of many located throughout the country and housed over 3,000 prisoners during its operation.
5. Civil War History
Phelps County saw its fair share of action during the Civil War. The county was home to several significant battles, including the Battle of Pilot Knob, where Confederate forces attempted to capture a Union supply depot. The Union victory at Pilot Knob ensured that Missouri remained in the Union's hands for the duration of the war.
6. Route 66
Phelps County was located on the iconic Route 66, the "Main Street of America." The county's largest city, Rolla, served as a popular stop for travelers on the route and still has several businesses that cater to the nostalgia of the old highway.
7. Meramec Caverns
Located in Sullivan, Missouri, just outside of Phelps County, Meramec Caverns is a popular tourist destination famous for its striking underground rock formations. The caverns served as a hideout for Jesse James and his gang in the late 1800s and are still open for tours today.
Phelps County is a fascinating part of Missouri history, with a diverse and storied past. From its role in the Trail of Tears to its contributions during World War II, the county has played a significant part in American history.
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