Maramec Spring

Maramec Spring is located on the Meramec River near St. James in the east-central Ozarks of Missouri. The fifth largest spring in the state with an average daily discharge of 153 cubic feet (4.3 m3) of water per second, it is part of an area known for its karst topography with many springs and caves. The spring and 1800 acres (7.3 km²) are privately owned by the James Foundation which maintains the area as a park open to the public, and were donated by Lucy Wortham James. The Missouri Department of Conservation operates a trout hatchery and fishery at the spring. There are also ruins of a historic iron works, which took advantage of the available hydropower. The spring was declared a National Natural Landmark in October 1971.[2]

Maramec Spring
Maramec Spring 20050423 1.jpg
The spring opening is below the pool surface beneath the overhanging bluff of Gasconade Dolomite
CountryUnited States
RegionOzark Plateau
Physical characteristics
SourceDry Fork watershed
 • locationSalem Plateau, Ozark Plateau, Missouri
 • elevation773.97 ft (235.91 m)USGS
MouthMeramec River
 • location
near St. James, Phelps County, Ozark Plateau, Missouri
 • coordinates
37°57′20″N 91°31′57″W / 37.95556°N 91.53250°W / 37.95556; -91.53250Coordinates: 37°57′20″N 91°31′57″W / 37.95556°N 91.53250°W / 37.95556; -91.53250USGS
Length0.87 mi (1.40 km)Missouri Department of Conservation
 • locationMaramec SpringUSGS 1923-1985
 • average153 cu ft/s (4.3 m3/s)USGS 1923-1985
 • maximum770 cu ft/s (22 m3/s)
Basin features
U.S. NNLDesignated: 1971
Maramec Iron Works District
Maramec Iron Works furnace a.jpg
The remains of an iron furnace from the Maramec Iron Works which used hydropower from the spring
Nearest citySt. James, Missouri
Area0 acres (0 ha)
Built1826 (1826)
NRHP reference No.69000122[1]
Added to NRHPApril 16, 1969
Fishing for trout is popular in the spring branch of Maramec Spring. A spring branch is a short creek that carries the flow from a spring into a nearby stream.


The spring has an average daily discharge of about 100 million gallons (363 million liters)USGS. The natural history of the spring and the history of the iron works are highlighted in a museum operated by the James Foundation at the site. Another museum in the park features agricultural tools utilized in the area over the years.

The park also offers a scenic drive that offers a glimpse into the life in the area while the iron works were operating. The drive takes the viewer to a scenic overview of the park, an old cemetery populated with employees of the works, the iron pit mine, and locations of a few homesteads. The park is also covered with ample picnic areas, including pavilions that are suitable for events.

Maramec Iron WorksEdit

Adjacent to the spring are the ruins of the Maramec Iron Works. The first commercially viable iron works in the US west of the Mississippi, they produced iron from 1827 to 1891. During the US Civil War, it produced iron for cannonballs and James B. Eads' gunships, which were built in St. Louis near the mouth of the river. The iron works used the flow of water from the spring to power its machinery to process high-grade iron ore quarried in the form of hematite from a nearby pit.[3][4][5] The Maramec Iron Works District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.[1]

In October every year, the James Foundation hosts Old Iron Works Days, usually the second or third weekend of the month. This event features arts, crafts, foods, displays and presentations that provide a view of life in the area during the operation of the iron works.

Recreational activitiesEdit

The park is one of four trout parks in Missouri and allows fishing most of the year. Harvesting season starts March 1 each year and runs until the beginning of October, while the catch and release season runs during the winter months. The stream is restocked every day during fishing season from the 100,000 trout produced by the hatchery each year.[6]

There are 58 campsites in the park, ten of which have electric hook-ups. The park has numerous picnic sites, six reserveable picnic shelters, and multiple playgrounds.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "National Natural Landmark summary". National Park Service. February 5, 2004. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
  3. ^ Norris, James D., “Frontier Iron: The Story of The Maramec Iron Works: 1826-76," State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1964, James Foundation paperback reprint, 1972.
  4. ^ Ludwig, Stephen (1977). "Maramec Iron Works". Bittersweet. Lebanon High School. 2 (2). Retrieved 2009-04-26.
  5. ^ Martha L. Kusiak (March 1969). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Maramec Iron Works District" (PDF). Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  6. ^ "Maramec Spring Fish Hatchery and Trout Park". Missouri Department of Conservation. 2009. Archived from the original on January 13, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
  7. ^ "Camping at Maramec Spring Park along the Meramec River". James Foundation. Archived from the original on 2010-03-01. Retrieved 2009-12-15. Et al.

External linksEdit