“Yesterday’s Hideout, Today’s Retreat,” St. Francois State Park’s motto, evokes the legend that Civil War outlaws took cover in the hills and hollows that now make up the park. Later, moonshiners worked their stills in the narrow and scenic hollow along the banks of Coonville Creek, a place now preserved in the park’s Coonville Creek Wild Area.
In the early 1960s, hoping to preserve part of their landscape in its natural state, the residents of St. Francois County ran a door-to-door campaign for donations to buy land for the proposed park. From their first acreage purchase in 1964, St. Francois State Park has grown to its current 2,735 acres. Now it’s a beautiful hideaway with attractive campgrounds, picnic sites, trails, and overlooks of the Big River.
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