Camp Zoe

Round Spring
Shannon County

Camp Zoe is sited on a hill overlooking Sinking Creek, a tributary of the Current River. The 350 acres on which the camp is located abuts the Ozark National Scenic Riverways where Sinking Creek meets the Current. Camp Zoe was opened in 1929 as an all girls summer camp and eventually was made coed. Original buildings dating to 1929 include the Lodge, where activities were held (included a library), the Dining Hall, the “Old Shelter”, a mostly open air shelter where activities were held, the Stables, Cabins I, II & III and several service and out-buildings. The lodge was the most significant structure, sited at the top of the hill overlooking the camp grounds and constructed of native Ozark stone and timbers harvested from the site. Over the years four other cabins were added. Camp Zoe closed as a summer camp after the summer of 1986 due to escalating insurance costs and associated rises in camp tuition, which had begun to cause the number of campers to dwindle in the early 1980s. After a few years of renting the camp for retreats and large camping groups, longtime owners Jack and Lois Peters sold Camp Zoe to a religious organization. That organization made little to no changes to the camp and grounds, using it primarily for summer retreats through the 1990s. In 2004 members of the Grateful Dead tribute band The Schwag purchased the camp. By this time, many of the buildings were beginning to become run down due to deferred maintenance. The Schwag addressed some issues and made simple repairs to the cabins and showering facilities. The Schwag cleared some ground north of the main camp for their annual “Schwagstock” music festivals, but the camp itself largely maintained its original integrity. In early November 2010 the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency raided the camp after the final show at the annual “Spookstock” music festival. Following the raid court documents were filed alleging that the music festivals at Camp Zoe were the site of widespread, rampant use and sales of illegal drugs. Camp Zoe was seized by the federal government. While the historic camp is not in immediate danger of destruction, it faces an uncertain future brought about by the federal seizure. Many of the historic buildings, which have suffered from deferred maintenance and partial repairs are in a fragile state. It is hoped that listing Camp Zoe on Missouri’s list of Most Endangered Places could bring wider attention to a place that could be lost to neglect but has the potential of once again functioning as a camping/lodging or retreat facility offering visitors an escape from the daily barrage of our busy lives.

Listed in 2013.

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