A Kirbyville man is hoping to work with Taney County officials to turn a piece of historical property into a county park.
On Dec. 30, Russell Jackson came before the Taney County Commission with a proposal to make the infamous Murder Rock property accessible to the public.
Murder Rock is best known due to its connection to outlaw Alf Bolin who, during the era of the Civil War, used the rocks that ran alongside the old Springfield-Harrison Road as cover. Many unsuspecting travelers would lose their lives and/or property at the rocks when Bolin and his gang would ambush them as they were making their way through the area.
“They’ve called it Murder Rock since the 1860s,” said Jackson. “Our family purchased that in the 1920s, my dad and my grandpa, and it’s been in our family ever since. We’ve never made a big deal about it, because it’s where people got killed. It’s not really a glorious thing to us, so we’ve never made a big deal about it. But it is part of history, and there are people interested in it.”
Jackson added that over the years they’ve had many people come to them seeking permission to hike the property in order to view the infamous rock formation.
“They come out to our house or they call us wanting us to go show them, and it’s just not a real safe area to be. There’s no driveway. They have to park on the road. It’s just very dangerous,” Jackson said. “It’s a state road and, like a lot of state roads, there are ditches and you can’t pull off. It’s just very unsafe for people to try to observe the rock.”
Jackson said to make viewing this piece of historical property safer, he would like to lease the 6.9 acres of property to the county, at no charge, to provide them with the opportunity to transform it into a park.
“It was my hope that the county would lease the 6.9 acres … and make a driveway, a parking area and a walking trail to the rock,” said Jackson. “I’m asking the county to consider this as a 2020 project for the park board.
“I’ve talked to the park board and they approve of the concept, but they only have so many dollars. So I’m asking the commission to consider that in their budget.”
Jackson explained that he’s not asking for money to lease the property, because he’s not looking to make any money off this project. Jackson added that he made this proposal because he wants to give the public the chance to safely access the property.
“I don’t think we’re talking about a lot of money, you know $1,000, maybe $3,000, to get it to where it would be presentable. I don’t think it’s a lot of money, but then again, a dollar’s a dollar.”
Jackson said that, at first, he would like to just lease the property for 10 years to see how things go and make sure that nobody trashes up the property.
“That’s my biggest concern is if you have a parking pad there, but nobody to watch it. We drive by it about every day, so we would know if someone left a bunch of trash there or something. That’s my only concern is the place being trashed or something.”
As Jackson’s presentation was not on the agenda, he addressed the commission during the public comment section of the meeting. Following the presentation, the commission shared no follow-up remarks and no official action.