About the Friends

About the Friends of Arrow Rock

Since 1959 the Friends of Arrow Rock has grown from a small group of committed people to a membership of over 800, all in a village with a population of 70! Unsure of their future when they completed their first restoration in 1960, they turned the property over to the Arrow Rock State Park. They soon found there were more buildings to be saved and they began to work. The Friends now own ten historic buildings and one modern building.

With this much property, preservation is a never-ending task. The Friends of Arrow Rock own the 1839 Miller-Bradford House (housing an antique business), the Dr. Sappington Medical Museum, the J.P. Sites Gun Shop (c.1866) and House (1875), and the I.O.O.F. Hall (1868). We also have long term leases on the Christian Church (1872) and the Lawless house (c. 1903) and we own an 1830’s log structure. On the boardwalk you will find our newly-restored headquarters. The Post Office also leases one of our boardwalk buildings. Recently the Friends received, as gifts, Brown’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church (1871) and Brown Lodge No. 22 of A.F. & A.M. (1881).

Brown Lodge Before Restoration
Brown Lodge Under Restoration

Preserving the historic structures of this 19th century Missouri River town was our first task. Furnishing the buildings was the next.

Currently we have extensive collections in the Gun Shop as well as the 1875 Victorian Sites House, and we maintain two period rooms in the 1839 Miller-Bradford House. We also house collections in the Odd Fellows Hall and its downstairs Print Shop. The Christopher Collection of Early Missouri Firearms is on permanent display in our Main Street Headquarters.

Occasionally used for weddings, the 1872 Christian Church is complete with its original furnishings. Newly-renovated, and with modern conveniences, Brown’s Chapel is available for services, meetings, reunions, or weddings. The Dr. Sappington Medical Museum is scheduled for renovation, and we are in the process of restoring the Brown Lodge.

Preserving the buildings and their contents is only half the job. These buildings and collections tell a story, a story connecting our past with the present and providing a basis for our future. We seek to tell the story to approximately 5,000 students and adults who annually participate in our educational programs and guided building tours.

Thousands more visit our office and museum shop on Main Street, read our publications, attend our symposiums, forums, or home tours. All these efforts are directed by a volunteer Board of Trustees and coordinated by an Executive Director, Education Director, and three seasonal employees. Please join in telling the story.