Markham Springs Rec Area

The Basics

Markham Springs Recreation Area
State Hwy E
Ironton, MO

Phone: (573) 785-1475 (Poplar Bluff District Office)

Closest Towns: Ellsinore, Poplar Bluff, Williamsville

Directions: From Poplar Bluff: Head North on US Hwy 67 for approx 14 miles to MO Hwy 49. Turn Left/West onto Hwy 49 for approx. 10 miles. (Approx. 3 miles West of Williamsville) The entrance will be on your Right, just after you cross over the Black River.

About Markham Springs

Situated along the Black River in SE Missouri, this Recreation Area is named after a former owner of the property, M.J. Markham. In 1901, Markham acquired the property and operated a mill that had already been used for years to saw limber. By 1929, however, the mill was in disreapir, and was used primarily for storage. In the 1930s, the porperty was sold to Rudolph Fuchs, who built a 5-bedroom concrete and native stone house for his family. He also built the present mill wheel house to produce electricity for his needs. But, before he could finish, rural electricity came to area. In 1966, the property was sold to the U.S. Forest Service.

By the 2000s, the house had fallen into disrepair, and there was talk of what the Forest Service should do about it. In the summer of 2010, sixteen craftsmen submitted a proposal to repair and update the old house, at no cost to the government, in exchange for private use of the house for each craftsman and their familiy during certain weeks of the year. The house is also available for rent to the public several weeks a year as well. With a large living room, 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and enough beds to sleep 14 people, there is plenty of room for more than one family. The house is also within walking distance of the campground and Black River, and makes for a perfect getaway, quiet retreat or family reunion. For more information on renting the Fuchs House, visit

The recreation area offers a small campground (12 sites) with single and double campsites offering electric hookups, as well as a primitive loop near the Black River. The campground is typically open from May thru September. A day use area near the spring pond offers several picnic sites. A concrete boat ramp offers river acces for boaters, fisherman and floaters. A short hiking trail offers views of the river, the pond, the springs, and the forest uplands.

Six springs collectively pour about 5 million gallons of water a day into the spring pond, which then flows into the Black River. A small bubble spring, just outside of the pond, is a smaller outlet of Markham Spring that has air with it, and rises to the surface in soft sand, forming unique "air bubbles".

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