Hi, I’m Russ Soderberg, owner of the Big Red Barn RV Park; and I am very proud to be a part of this Campground located in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks in Carthage, MO “America’s Maple Leaf City”.
In 1927, Carthage, Missouri, was proclaimed The Open Gate to the Ozarks and was extolled the Little City Among the Trees as one of the finest places to live due in part to its beauty of setting and architecture.
Although the Big Red Barn RV Park isn’t a destination Park, you will want to visit and explore the history of the area which can keep you busy for several days. For instance; be sure to visit the post office and courthouse; both buildings were built with Carthage Marble and beautiful wood trim; and both have been well preserved and maintained over the years. Every Wednesday you can enjoy a farmers market on the Square in front of the Court House, and there are beautiful mansions in town.
- The Carthage Courthouse rebuilt after the original court house was burnt to the ground during the civil war. This magnificent Romanesque Revival building was constructed with Carthage stone and has medieval castle features that include turrets, towers, and arches. An array of historical artifacts, local mining displays, and a wrought iron cage elevator with a full time operator are located inside of the building.
- Carthage Civil War Museum is filled with information and artifacts covering the Civil War Battle of Carthage and the Civil War in southwest Missouri. There is a display on the outlaw Belle Starr, who grew up in Carthage during the Civil War.
- George Washington Carver National Monument is just fifteen (15) minutes from the Big Red Barn RV Park Campground. The young child known as the “Plant Doctor” tended his secret garden while observing the day-to-day operations of a 19th century farm. Nature and nurture ultimately influenced George on his quest for education to becoming a renowned agricultural scientist, educator, and humanitarian.
- Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern). One of the largest battles west of the Mississippi, the cannonade on the morning of March 8 could be heard as far away as Joplin. “. . . the battle of Pea Ridge was the most one-sided victory won by an outnumbered Union army during the war,” according to James McPherson, “Battle Cry of Freedom.” Union victory.
- Precious Moments Chapel and Gardens is great too, a beautiful place for photography hobbyist; and only a few miles from the campground.
The Gardens: Nestled in the rolling foothills of the beautiful Ozark Mountains sits Precious Moments Park. With your first step onto the grounds, you’ll discover why so many have found this place to be a haven of peace and tranquility. The Park is home to acres of manicured grounds and dozens of gardens featuring flowering plants of many stunning varieties. You don’t need to have a green thumb to appreciate the perfect beauty of this natural wonder.
The Chapel: The art on the east side of the Chapel depicts the Bible’s Old Testament stories; while New Testament stories are shown on the west side. The mural “Hallelujah Square” celebrates the lives of real children whose lives ended too soon, but whose stories continue to bring a message of love, hope and peace. All of the murals combine to cover nearly 5,000 square feet – truly a breathtaking sight. The Precious Moments Chapel is open year round with the exception of Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
- The Annual Maple Leaf Festival. Started in the late 1960’s as a marching band competition, the annual Maple Leaf Festival received its name thanks to Mother Nature. Every year, surrounded by an array of glorious fall colors, the city of Carthage proudly welcomes the 80,000+ visitors to this wonderful Fall celebration. Every year, on the third Saturday of October, the grand finale of the festival begins with the largest parade in Southwest Missouri. This keystone event begins approximately at 9am and ends around noon. The parade route begins on the Carthage Historic Square and ends at the Carthage Middle School. Numerous events are scheduled throughout the day to entertain young and young at heart including Willie Arthur Smith’s Marching Cobras an arts & crafts festival, car show, food vendors and live entertainment.
- The Carthage Library is a must stop for those appreciate both literacy and historical sites. As early as 1870, the citizens of Carthage began a movement to organize a permanent public library for their community. Lecture courses and public entertainment were used to raise funds for a library service that opened in a store front on the 600 block of Main Street. This first establishment loaned books to patrons for an initiation fee of two dollars plus ten cents per week.
In 1902, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie offered $25,000 to build a public library if the citizens would vote a tax to support a library and if the city could provide a suitable location for a building. Even though they did not have the right to vote, women of the community circulated petitions for a supporting tax. The vote to initiate a library tax carried 831 to 94.
- We can’t forget the Historic Route 66.
- Route 66 Drive-in. Carthage is also home to one of the few surviving drive-in theaters left in America. During the hey-day of Route 66 there were countless drive-ins in operation along the old highway. The 66 Drive-in is one of the last remaining drive-ins, and we are very fortunate to have this historical gem right here in Carthage. Operating every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night all summer. Enjoy two family friendly movies from the comfort of your car or bring lawn chairs! A great outing for less than the cost of one movie ticket at a typical movie theater!
- Boots Motel. Route 66 winds its way through Carthage about a block from the Town Square. Along its corridor stands the famous Boots Motel, a classic example of Streamline Modern Architecture, one of the last left along Route 66. Arthur Boots established the Boots Motel in 1939 “At the Crossroads of America.” For its time it was indeed thoroughly modern with a radio in every room, tile showers, floor furnace with thermostat control, air conditioner and garage. It is said that Clark Gable even stayed here once.
- Red Oak II. You’ll see Grandpa Weber’s Blacksmith Shop, where Lowell’s great-grandfather practiced his trade, the Feed and Seed Store, the Old Phillip’s 66 Station which was originally located on old Route 66 near Red Oak and the General Store which was originally located in Red Oak, was run by Lowell’s father and was where Lowell learned to sculpt and paint.
- Lucky J Steakhouse. Lucky J is more than a restaurant it’s an experience! Of course Lucky J has the best food in town, but we also have great family entertainment. From the fast paced event of barrel racing to team roping and everything in between you will be planning your next trip to Lucky J before your food arrives.
- Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre. The Theatre is a volunteer run, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting, facilitating, and supporting the performing arts in Southwest Missouri and the Four-States Area.
- Carthage Golf Course. With an 18-hole full service course located in a very scenic setting, this course includes a pro shop, snack bar, golf instruction, practice facility and cart rentals. If your group is interested in a bit more excitement, speak with our staff about available dates and times for golf outings or tournaments.
- Marlin Perkins Statue. A larger-than-life statue of Marlin Perkins, one of Carthage’s most famous citizens, stands—or crouches—in the town’s Central Park. Perkins (1905–1986) is best-known to most of us as the host of the television series Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, but he was an accomplished zoologist beginning many years earlier. At the age of 21, he was in charge of the reptile collection at the Saint Louis Zoo.
- The Webb City Praying Hands. This sizable civic monument is impressive; 110 tons and 32 feet tall atop a 40-foot-tall man-made hill. Sculpted by local artist J.E. “Jack” Dawson in 1972.
- Harry S. Truman’s Birthplace. See where “The Buck” started at this State Historic Site. Visitors can view the small frame house where the future President was born, and see furnishings that reflect what a house in western Missouri would have looked like during the time Truman lived in the house.
I was on the road for over 6 years full time and have stayed at over 2,500 campgrounds around this country and will attest the Big Red Barn Campground is among the best all around parks that you can stay at.
Russ Soderberg, Owner ~ Big Red Barn RV Park