Former summer camp in Missouri to become state park

A former summer camp three hours southwest of St. Louis is getting a new life as a state park in Missouri.

Camp Zoe was established in 1929 and closed in 1986. It was used as concert venue for bands like String Cheese Incident, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic and others after Jimmy Tebeau of the Missouri band The Schwag purchased the 370-acre property in 2004. The campground and festival site ran into trouble with the law when an open-air drug market was discovered on the property and raided by authorities in 2010. The DEA seized the property and Tebeau was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.

The state bought 330 acres of the property at auction for $640,000 in November 2013 and acquired 80 acres adjacent the property for another $450,000. Developing the new park will cost an estimated $52 million.

Plans include:

  • An iconic lodge featuring accommodations for up to 78 guests, indoor and outdoor dining, meeting room space, and indoor and outdoor special event opportunities;
  • 9 cabins of various sizes with full amenities and accommodations for up to 108 guests;
  • 62 full service camping sites with electrical and water service, 43 of which also have sanitary service;
  • 4 acres of primitive camping/group camping with a group fire ring and restroom building;
  • A bluff-top event shelter which can accommodate 200 people for special events like weddings and reunions;
  • An amphitheater with a 50 guest capacity for small/medium events with tiered seating and a dramatic natural backdrop;
  • A signature vehicular and pedestrian bridge spanning 456 feet over Sinking Creek.

While development of the park continues, an effort is also in place to restore one of the last vestiges of the old summer camp with a campaign to raise $300,000 for the stabilization and restoration of the Camp Zoe Lodge. More information on the campaign is available at www.savecampzoelodge.com.

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Matt Ralph

Matt Ralph

I'm the editor of Summer Camp Culture and also blog at Tangzine.com and MatthewRalph.com. I live in the Philadelphia area and went to camps and camp meetings growing up in Ohio, Maryland and New Jersey.

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