Sunday, April 25, 2021

Day Trip To Battle of Athens Historical Site

Saturday took us to the Iowa-Missouri boarder at Shimek State Forest. Our curiosity was piqued with a historical site just over the river from where we were hiking. Since it was only minutes away we decided to check it out. The two youngest minis and I realized, as we pulled up, we had learned about this town during our Civil War unit! That made the visit extra fun and special.

Located only 2 1/2 hours from Des Moines, Iowa the town of Athens, MO is home to the Battle of Athens State Historic Site. Managed by the State Park system, this battle ground is in pristine condition, right down to the street signs that mark where the original roads were during the Civil War. The actual battle only last a few hours, but it was quite interesting to see the aftermath of that battle. In one house, you can look through the hole that the cannon made! 

Our first stop was to the open shelter (which is available to rent, but was not in use on this day) for a pizza picnic lunch. The shelter sits on the site of the former General Store. From there, we hiked a trail passed the ruins of the mill and then walked around the town, visiting each building. The buildings were locked tight, but my peeping toms (two youngest) noticed a few of the houses had a table that had masks and hand sanitizer set up, so I imagine the houses and buildings are open at some point. Not going inside wasn't a make it or break it deal for us; we had a great time regardless.

View from the shelter.

The ruins from this old house was one of their favorite things. They were able to walk around where the house once stood, on top of the pieces of brick, and really get a feel for the size of the house and what happened that day. 

The mill overlook. Across the river, you can see a white fence (that is actually in Iowa and not Missouri). That is where the depot stood (that they were trying to protect from the soldiers).

This was a very cool "find" for the day. We only visited the park's historic site. There is also a lake with activities such as boating and fishing, camping, and more hiking trails. We could have easily made an entire adventure day at this park (but we had plans on visiting one more Iowa State Park on our way home). I highly recommend if you have kids who have studied the civil war or are interested in history.