JEFFERSON CITY, MO, MARCH 29, 2019 – Missouri State Parks and the Women’s Foundation captured the important role women have played in Missouri’s history during a ceremony this week renaming Annie and Abel Van Meter State Park.
On April 9, 1932, after the death of her husband, Annie donated 369 acres of her 1,340-acre farm to the state of Missouri to preserve the uniqueness of the land for all to continue to enjoy. Today, the land continues to include some of the most unique cultural and natural features in an otherwise flat landscape. The Pinnacles, or steep hills, have attracted people to the area for thousands of years to overlook the specular view of the valley and river. The Van Meter farm was previously occupied by the Oumessourit and the Missouria Native American tribes. The Missouri a became the source name for the river, the territory and eventually the state.
"What I admire most about Annie was her independence and intelligence," said Carol Comer, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. "She was a woman of vision who played a significant role in the success of the Van Meter land. Her donation allowed the State of Missouri to preserve the uniqueness of this land - Annie is the reason we enjoy this park today."
To celebrate Women’s History month and as part of the ceremony, the park unveiled a new exhibit panel. Missouri State Parks partnered with the Women’s Foundation to help capture the story of the important legacy Annie and her husband Abel left for Missouri. The Women’s Foundation promotes equity and opportunity for women of all ages, using research, philanthropy and policy solutions to make meaningful change.
"For too long women like Annie have been under represented in public spaces and historic sites – their contributions forgotten or sometimes overshadowed," said Wendy Doyle, president and CEO of the Women’s Foundation. "Today, that is starting to change, thanks to forward-looking leaders like those at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Missouri State Parks. By writing women back into Missouri’s history, we can ensure that women can see themselves as the change makers and barrier breakers of the past."
Annie and Abel Van Meter State Park includes the Missouri’s American Indian Cultural Center and features hiking trails, an 18-acre lake for fishing and a peaceful, shaded campground. A boardwalk winds through the Oumessourit Natural Area, including a freshwater marsh, fens and bottomland and portions of the Pinnacles.
Located north of I-70 and west of Highway 65 in Miami, Annie and Abel Van Meter State Park is 12 miles north of Marshall at 32146 N. Highway 122.
For more information about Missouri state parks and historic sites, visit the web at https://mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
As part of the ceremony, the park unveiled a new exhibit panel in partnership with the Women’s Foundation. Left to right: Ben Ellis, director Missouri State Parks, Kay Wise, great niece of Annie Van Meter and Kendall Seal, vice president of research and policy and general counsel Women’s Foundation.