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Historic spring house becomes community preservation project

Cynthia Pikey, left, James Pikey, Carter Klusmeyer and Kathy Klusmeyer from Troop 483 in Farmington work to clear overgrown brush located near the spring house on the Waide Spring. The spring is located on the original farm property of David Murphy, son of Rev. William Barton and Sarah Barton Murphy - the founders of Farmington. 

An historic Spring House associated with the founding family of Farmington is being cleaned up as a result of a coalition of historic organizations in the community and the property’s new owner.

Waide Spring was built as part of the original farm property of David Murphy. He was the son of Rev. William Barton and Sarah Barton Murphy, the founders of Farmington, Missouri in 1799. David Murphy is also credited with establishment of St. Francois County in 1822. He donated his property, including that of the current St. Francois Courthouse, in exchange for the County Seat designation.

The property was recently purchased by restaurant owner Joan Hurst. During the purchase transition, the familiar historic property and spring house fell into disrepair, the result of fast growing vegetation and trees, including a large Cyprus specimen tree.

The gradual overgrowth of the historic Spring House was noticed by a number of nonprofit and commercial organizations, who wrote of their concern to the mayor’s office. The City Planning Department helped orchestrate an agreement with its present owner and various nonprofit organizations.

Ms. Hurst, owner of 12 West, Nancy Cozean, a member of Sarah Barton Murphy Chapter Daughters of American Revolution, and Daughters of American Colonists; Steve Slinkard and Elma Jennings, Historic Society, reached an understanding by which various nonprofit organizations would initiate cleanup efforts, under the guidance of the County Extension Office and City Planning Department. Initial stabilization efforts began with Cozean and Slinkard, and Farmington Scout Troop 483.

Cozean noted that the response to preserve the historic property by the community was greatly appreciated.

“Waide Spring,” she said, “is one of the major sites where founding fathers helped plan our community based on the importance of clean spring water. The efforts by public and private groups today to preserve this site can continue to bring Farmington multiple returns in preservation, ecology, educational and planning. It is a true symbol of 'Progress and Tradition',” Cozean said.

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