(Front):(See other side)
Van Buren, settled as the seat of Ripley County, organized, 1833, became the seat of Carter County when it was organized from parts of Ripley and Shannon counties, 1859.
Nearby Big Spring State Park, 4582 acres of Ozark grandeur, founded 1924, features the natural beauty of the largest single-orifice, fresh water spring in the U.S.
Big Spring has a maximum flow of 840 million gallons every 24 hours and a daily average of 250 million gallons. The spring discharges about 175 tons of limestone in solution daily. 433 feet above sea level, at the base of a 500-foot cliff, the spring gushes through an impeded opening from an underground streambed and flows 1,000 feet into Current River, famed spring-formed, spring-fed Ozark fishing stream. Of the 69 springs in the U.S. having a dailyflow of 64,600,000 gallons or more, 11 are in the Missouri Ozarks.
During the Civil War the Union Army of Southeast Missouri wintered in the area 1862-63. The Snider House, west of town is the site of one of several skirmishes.
(Reverse):(Continued from other side)Carter County, whose main industries are limbering and recreation, is almost evenly divided by Current River. Called La Riviere Courante by early French Trappers, it has long been a highway and food source for the area. Early Indians found it attractive for 36 villages and camps have been found in the area. Thousands of logs came down the river to nearby Chicopee in the 1890's and early 1900's during the lumbering boom.
The town of Grandin, to the south, once-time lumbering center of Missouri, was laid out in 1888 by the Missouri Lumber and Mining Co. Over 100,000 acres of Carter County's virgin forest land were bought and 15 to 20 thousand acres were harvested a year. From the mid-1890's to 1909 when the forest was depleted and the mills closed, production at the Grandin's mills exceeded 60 million board feet of lumber a year. With the sawmills closed, Grandin and other mill towns in the area became like ghost towns.
The natural forest resource of the area is being restored through local, state, and national effort. Much of Carter County lies in Clark National Forest, founded 1933-37.