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Bennett Spring State Park
Bennett Spring SP 1-by rjones0.jpg
Bennett Spring State Park is located in Missouri
Bennett Spring State Park
Bennett Spring State Park
Location in Missouri
Location Dallas, Laclede, Missouri, United States
Area 3,216.74 acres (13.0177 km2)
Elevation 1,076 ft (328 m)
Established 1924
Governing body Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Website Bennett Spring State Park
Bennett Spring State Park Shelter House and Water Gauge Station
Shelter House and Water Gauge Station.jpg
Historic water gauge station and shelter house
Location Dallas / Laclede counties, Missouri, USA, near Bennett Springs, Missouri
Area Less than one acre
Built 1933
Built by CCC; NPS
MPS ECW Architecture in Missouri State Parks 1933-1942 TR
NRHP reference No. 85000527
Added to NRHP February 28, 1985
Bennett Spring State Park Hatchery-Lodge Area Historic District
Location MO A64, Bennett Spring, Missouri
Area 20 acres (8.1 ha)
Built 1933 (1933)
Architect CCC
MPS ECW Architecture in Missouri State Parks 1933-1942 TR
NRHP reference No. 85000504
Added to NRHP March 4, 1985

Bennett Spring State Park is a public recreation area located in Bennett Springs, Missouri, twelve miles (19 km) west of Lebanon on Highway 64 in Dallas and Laclede counties. It is centered on the spring that flows into the Niangua River and gives the park its name. The spring averages 100 million gallons (380,000 m3) of daily flow. The park offers fly fishing, camping, canoeing, hiking, and other activities.


In 1837, the James Brice family built a mill at the stream and the spring became known as Brice Spring. The town that built up was known as Brice. The family of Peter Bennett soon settled near the spring and started their own mill. Originally, the families were rivals, but they soon intermarried. Both of these mills were eventually destroyed in a flood.

During the Civil War years, another mill was constructed by Peter Bennett. This Bennett Mill was larger and more successful than the Brice mill. The spring soon took on the Bennett name. Peter died in 1882 and his son William Sherman Bennett took over. The Bennett Mill burned in 1895.

The state purchased the spring and some surrounding area in 1924-1925 to create a state park. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) made various improvements to the park. The CCC built the dining lodge, cabins, trails, roads, shelters, gauge station, and the arched stone bridge across the spring branch. The bridge has 3 distinctive sideways “C’s” to memorialize the men of the CCC who built it. The CCC also channelized the spring branch and constructed the dam just upstream of the stone bridge to make the spring more habitable to the non-native trout. The dam is used to divert water through the fish hatchery and to maintain a constant water level at Bennett Spring to this day.

Historic sites

The park includes two resources that were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985:

  • Bennett Spring State Park Hatchery-Lodge Area Historic District: The district encompasses six contributing buildings and two contributing structures erected by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1933 and 1938. They include two concrete and stone arch bridges, barn, storage building, custodian's residence, Old Officers Quarters ("Hotel"), restroom, and dining lodge.
  • Bennett Spring State Park Shelter House and Water Gauge Station: The picnic shelter is of wood and random ashlar stone construction with an enclosed alcove that houses a stone fireplace. The water gauge station is a small (8 feet by 8 feet) two-story tower of random cut stone construction with a pyramidal roof and round-arched window openings. It measures 26 feet by 26 feet and has a pitched cross-gabled roof.

Activities and amenities

The park offers trout fishing for rainbow and brown trout in the natural spring that is the namesake of the park. The fishing area is divided into three zones, each with its own set of regulations. During the regular season, fish may be caught and kept. Catch and release regulations are in effect during the winter months. Daily fishing begins and ends with a whistle or siren. The opening march of the angler can sometimes resemble a Civil War–style battle line as the anglers progress into the water with rod in hand.

The park also offers 12 miles (19 km) of hiking trails, canoeing on the Niangua River, camping, cabins, swimming pool, nature center, dining lodge, and park store.

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