salad and vegetables grown nearby. Layton’s maternal grandparents ran the restaurant and hotel.
Although the Bruners worked hard and built up a beautiful resort with numerous modern conveniences, the business faced several challenges, including the poor condition of the road from Cassville to Roaring River. Fire destroyed the hotel in October 1923. In November 1927, a very large flood washed out part of the hatchery and about 100,000 trout escaped into the river. These and other hardships caused the Bruners to run out of money.
The property was foreclosed and sold for $105,000 on the courthouse steps in Cassville on Nov. 16, 1928, a Friday, to St. Louis businessman Thomas M. Sayman. He didn’t waste any time turning his dreams for Roaring River into reality. By the following Tuesday, he had a contract to build a new hatchery building, and work started on Wednesday. He wanted to make sure the building would be ready for spawning season.
Although all accounts say that the building was finished, Sayman’s plans changed abruptly before the end of the year, and he decided to donate the property to the state for a park.
State Hatchery In 1928, the State Game and Fish Commission took possession of the property. In short order the hatchery superintendent of Bennett Spring Park brought down a truckload of trout to the state’s newly acquired hatchery at Roaring River. The head of the Game and Fish Commission, Keith McCanse said, “Roaring River will be used as a fish hatchery, game refuge and a recreational center.”
Company 1713 of the Civilian Conservation Corps (a government work program set up during the Great Depression for young men 17 to 24 years old) moved into Roaring River in June 1933. At first, the camp was made up of 150 men, but 1,500 worked there during seven years of the program. They were paid $8 per month and their families back home received $22 per month.
One of the Civilian Conservation Corps’ first projects was repairing the dam containing the spring pool. This earthen structure was first built in 1865 to divert water to the mill at the site of the present day Civilian Conservation Corps Lodge. It also impounded water from the spring, creating enough head pressure to allow water to flow through the hatchery. The new structure was built with rock quarried from the park.
In 1937 the Department of Conservation was formed, replacing the Missouri Game and Fish