Washington State Park – De Soto MO


Washington State Park is a Missouri state park in the central eastern part of Missouri containing native American rock carvings. These carvings, or petroglyphs, carved in dolomite rock, are believed to have been made around 1000 to 1600 and give clues to the lives of the prehistoric native Americans who once inhabited this part of Missouri. It is also believed that the park served as ceremonial grounds for these Middle Mississippi people who were related to the builders of the Cahokia Mounds in Illinois.

“Most of the carvings are of birds, arrows, footprints, turkey tracks, human figures, and various geometric shapes and patterns. The three petroglyph sites in the park are thought to be all that is left of a more extensive site. They make up almost 75 percent of the known petroglyphs in Missouri and contain over 350 symbols.”[1]

Because of the severe economic recession in the 1930s, this park was built by the African-American Civilian Conservation Corps stonemasons, known as company 1743. It was through their efforts that the park has standing still today, several historical stone hiking shelters, picnic pavilions, and the stones that make up the 1,000 Steps Trail.”   (wikipedia)

CCC company 1743(Camp Thunderbird) was the only African-American company in the Missouri State Park System.  It was established to preserve the Indian Petroglyphs found there with the primary feature being the extensive rock work, most of which was done by hand.  They quarried their own stone.  They constructed 14 buildings including a store, other outbuildings, cabins, many walls, paths, curbs along the roadway and were well known for the trail with 1000 steps.  It is recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.  In 1939, the camp transferred to Mark Twain State Park in Florida, MO.

Source notes

On-site information sign.
CCC/WPA monument in Meramec State Park.

Project originally submitted by Charles Swaney on July 27, 2012.

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Location Info

Washington State Park
De Soto, MO

Coordinates: 38.0848766, -90.69865849999996

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