Sense of Place

Rockbridge Rainbow Trout and Game Ranch, Inc.

Eighty miles southeast of Springfield, deep in the Ozark Mountains lies a secluded getaway spot that draws people from all over the world.  It boasts a river stocked with Rainbow Trout and a restaurant that makes one heck of a cobbler—but the town of Rockbridge, Missouri also has a gem of a past.

What started in 1841 as a settlement of migrants from Kentucky is now a 2,000 acre resort that attracts visitors year round.


Rockbridge Rainbow Trout and Game Ranch is home to some of the best fly fishing in the midwest.


Claire Kidwell / KSMU News

Smallin Civil War Cave outside of Ozark, Missouri, has more history to it than its name would suggest. KSMU’s Claire Kidwell went there to explore its ancient past—which includes a fascinating element surrounding the winter solstice.

While hiking on the trail leading up to Smallin Civil War Cave, there’s a quiet atmosphere broken only by birdsong as you make your way to the cave.

Megan Burke/ KSMU Radio

High up in the Ozark Mountains lies a gravel road that spans 23 miles from Ava to Longrun. It’s Missouri’s only National Scenic Byway, and it’s owned by the National Forest Service.


As I drive through the thick winding woods, it only takes minutes to notice the abundant wildlife around me.


Images courtesy of the Springfield-Greene County Library District


Today, the City of Joplin is a thriving hub for health care and transportation. But there was a time when it was no more than a collection of tents huddled around a series of mines.

Walking into the Joplin History Museum, you’re greeted by the two resident cats who watch over the building—and an entire wing designed to look like an old mine.  

Springfield-Greene County Library District

  One the most influential people in Springfield’s history was a civic trailblazer during the first half of the 20th century.


John T. Woodruff moved to the Springfield area in 1904 and went on a 40-year spree of civic projects and expansion across the Ozarks.


But today, most people don’t know who he was or the impact he had on the community, says Missouri State University Library Dean Thomas Peters.