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USA Parks
Northeast Region
Athens State Park
Battle of Athens State Historic Site interprets the northernmost Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi River along with providing recreational opportunities.

Some of the land and buildings included in the site were part of the once-thriving town of Athens. Located on the Des Moines River, 19th century Athens boasted about 50 businesses before the Civil War, including a large mill that produced flour, cornmeal, lumber, cotton and woolen goods. A large brick hotel, the St. Louis Hotel, was one of many other buildings on the Athens waterfront. Today, only a few structures remain.

Col. David Moore occupied the town with his pro-Union forces from July 24 to Oct. 31, 1861. On Aug. 5, Moore's force of under 500 men repelled Col. Martin Green's pro-South State Guard of about 2,000 men, who were trying to rescue the town from Union occupation.

Today, the historic site administers the remaining buildings in the town of Athens, including the Thome-Benning House, which was pierced by a cannonball during the battle. Exhibits and tours interpret the battle and the history of the town. The site also offers hiking trails, a lake for fishing, picnic sites, basic and electric campsites and more than a mile of frontage on the Des Moines River.
The boat launch, which allows for boat and canoe access to the ten-acre lake, is composed of gravel. Only electric trolling motors are allowed.

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Nature Programs
Interpretive programs are offered at Battle of Athens State Historic Site for schools, groups and organizations. Off-site programs are also offered within a 60-mile radius of the historic site. Further distances within the state of Missouri are possible, dependent on staff schedules and the location. Please call (660) 877-3871 for more information or to schedule your group.
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
July 12 Secluded, Shady, Historical by Darryl Eschete
My two kids and I camped here the weekend after July 4th, and it was lovely. The campground is very secluded, very shady and there is a healthy supply of free firewood. The ruins of Athens are fascinating and well-kept and the cannonball house is amazingly well-preserved. We also took a day trip to nearby Nauvoo, Illinois to see the Joseph Smith historical site. I plan to go back and highly recommend it.

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From Jefferson City : Travel north on U.S. Hwy. 63 to Lancaster. Take U.S. Hwy. 136 east to Kahoka. Travel north on Hwy. 81 for ten miles then turn right/east onto Route CC and continue four miles to the historic site.

From Kansas City : Travel north on I-35 to Exit 54/U.S. Hwy. 36. Take U.S. Hwy. 36 east to Macon. Take U.S. Hwy. 63 north to Lancaster; turn right/east onto U.S. Hwy. 136. At Kahoka, take Hwy. 81 north for ten miles then turn right/east onto Route CC. Continue four miles to the historic site.

From Iowa : Take Hwy. 2 to Hwy. 81 south and continue six miles before turning east onto Route CC. Continue four miles to the historic site.

Location map for Battle of Athens State Historic Site.

USA Parks
Northeast Region
Athens State Park
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