Friday, March 20, 2015

Apr 1997 - Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace

Life in Oak Springs, the Homeplace
Apr 1997

This series of posts on each Friday during 2015 continues the stories of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction families in the area of Oak Springs following the novel “Christmas at the Homeplace.” Here is a peek at ‘Life in Oak Springs,’ and the surrounding valley, in April of 1997.

User smithwil

Oak Creek Outfitters, Inc., providing canoe and kayaking adventures on Oak Creek, announced plans to expand their service through a joint venture with Big Thunder Lodge and the Oak Creek Mill and Mill Market, in cooperation with the National Forest and State Natural Resources Department. Jonathon Offutt, General Manager of Oak Creek Outfitters, said that services comparable to the 1976 season would begin on Monday, April 7, of 1977, from the “bend of the creek” south of the Mill Pond, down Oak Creek, to the Oak Creek Outfitter facilities at the township line. Under a new agreement with Big Thunder Lodge and the Oak Creek Mill and Mill Market, Oak Creek will be available to float from Big Thunder Lodge, in Dent County, south to just north of the Oak Creek Mill. Portage will be provided, if desired, off the ridge to restart at the “bend of the creek” to continue down the Creek.

Big Thunder Lodge announced that the lake that had previously been built near the lodge on Oak Creek had been drained, gradually, over about 60 days, and that a new, floatable stream bed was being dredged from the north edge of their property to the south edge so as to return the creek, as near as possible, to its original path. Stream bed maintenance consultants are now supervising placement of rock along the creek to make the best float experience possible through the lodge property. Float options on the Big Thunder Lodge property, only, will be available, as well as continuing south down Oak Creek. Oak Creek Outfitters is the concessionaire for the entire float experience on Oak Creek. The float experience on these two new, upper stretches of Oak Creek will be available later in the year, as facilities work is completed.

In cooperation with the National Forest, and the Bevins Trust, floaters will be able to continue south on Oak Creek to just north of the Oak Creek Mill where a portage will be required off of the ridge. Floaters will have the option of stopping at that point (and returning to the lodge) or continuing from the “bend of the creek” below the Mill Pond.


The Oak Springs Enterprise announced that they would sponsor publication of the “lost manuscript” of the Founding of Oak Springs originally prepared in the 1870s for the American Centennial in the community. Details of pre-ordering copies would be announced at a later date. Dick Nixon, Editor and Publisher, stated that is was very critical that this “historical treasure” be made available to a wide audience both locally and to interested people everywhere. Penny Nixon, Associate Editor, who is credited with discovering the manuscript, said she was very pleased that the Oak Springs Historical and Genealogical Society had set in motion the activity throughout the community that brought about this discovery. She challenged others in the community to continue to look for similar historical documents and artifacts.

Julie Barnes, Activities Director at the Big Thunder Lodge, invited interested members of the Oak Springs Community to take advantage of a Spring Weekend promotion being run at the Lodge to encourage people to get to know the Lodge better as a “getaway” from everyday life. Special room rates were available for the weekends of April 5-6, 12-13, and 18-19, along with discount coupons available for use at either restaurant on site. She added that Big Thunder Lodge was encouraging visits by the general public this year whereas in past years they were primarily noted for catering to Sportsmen Only. New management encouraged area residents to take advantage of a “getaway” weekend at the Lodge.

Social Notes:

Senior Prom for the Oak Springs High School was announced for Friday night, May 9 this year. A committee of students, teachers, and parents was responsible for planning the event for the benefit of the students approaching graduation. A Gala event was expected, committee members said.

“Arsenic and Old Lace” was the last play of the season at the Ozarks Community College Theater with performances on Thurs, Fri and Sat nights at 7 p.m., April 24-26.

"May everyone have a homeplace, if only in your mind."
Dr. Bill  ;-)


  1. Thank you... I believe you would. Thanks for the visit and the comment!! Have a great weekend! ;-)