Salem, Missouri
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
N 37° 38.955 W 091° 32.167
15S E 629138 N 4167907
History of the town, rivers, mines, and settlers in this Plateau county.
Waymark Code: WM3ANN
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 03/06/2008
Published By:Groundspeak Regular Member GEO*Trailblazer 1
Views: 13

Marker Erected by: State Historical Society of Missouri and State Highway Commission.
Date marker Erected: 1957.
County of Marker: Dent County.
Location of Marker: MO-19, roadside turnout, N. side of Salem.

Marker Text:

Salem, an Ozark plateau town, 1,180 feet above sea level, was laid out, 1851, as the seat of newly organized Dent County. The town was named by early settler David R. Henderson for Salem, North Carolina, and the county honors local pioneer and Missouri legislator Lewis Dent.

Before dawn on Dec. 3, 1861, a skirmish took place here that is often called the Battle of Salem. About 120 Union troops led by Maj. W.D. Bowen defeated around 300 pro-Southern state troops led by Col. T.R. Freeman and remained in control of Salem, strategic point on the road to the railway terminus at Rolla. Union forces occupied Salem throughout the war, except briefly in 1864, when raiders burned the courthouse and jail. The courthouse was rebuilt, 1870.

Salem grew with the coming of the St. Louis, Salem, and Little Rock R.R. (Frisco), 1872, and with the development of iron resources in the area in the 1870's. Dent County, with 33 iron mines, was one of the state's top producers until 1915. Northeast is Sligo, once a booming company town. A furnace was put in blast there, 1880.

Salem, seat of a farming and lumbering county, lies in a region of level plateau and rigged hills, territory claimed by the Osage tribes until their 1808 land cession. The first pioneers largely from Tennessee, came to settle the area in the 1820's. The first school chartered in the county was Union Independent Academy, to the south at Lake Springs, 1857. The Salem Academy opened in a newly completed building, 1872.

Montauk State Park, southwest of Salem, was acquired by the state in 1927. There, 930 feet above sea level, in a setting of timbered hills, Montauk Springs emerge in an open valley to send forth daily some 40 million gallons to form the headwaters of the beautiful, spring-fed Current River.

Indian Trail State Forest, northeast of Salem, was established in 1924. The White River Trail, much used by the Indians and later by the pioneers, passed through Dent County northeastward, crossing the forest. To the east, Dent County forms a part of Clark National Forest, established, 1933-39. Seeps and springs in the forest form the source of the historic Meramec River.

History of Mark:
Update to this 1957 marker: 1. The state acquired Montauk State park in 1926. 2. The first stage of land acquisition ran from 1934 to 1940. Clark National Forest was combined with the Mark Twain National Forest in 1976.

Web link: Not listed

Additional point: Not Listed

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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frog1962 visited Salem, Missouri 08/11/2012 frog1962 visited it
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