The Darr School of Agriculture was generously gifted a natural forest on the north side of Springfield in December 2013, known as The Woodlands; however, few realize the rich historical relevance the area holds.
Known now for its hands-on teaching and research opportunities for Missouri State students, The Woodlands was once declared a permanent camp for transients during the Great Depression.
Sally Lyons McAlear, former administrative assistant for the School of Ag, grew up half a mile south of the property. McAlear’s passion for the area inspired her to write a book, A Refuge in The Woodlands, about the rich history of the site.
“Because I grew up so close to The Woodlands and had heard about the former transient camp so many times during my childhood (but had no idea what it really was), the project of researching and writing about the topic was very personal. Learning that the property would be donated to the Darr School of Agriculture—where I had worked for so many years—was an added inspiration to write the book,” McAlear said.
The book was recently printed and distributed to libraries and archives in Springfield. An electronic version is located on the School of Ag website for your viewing/printing enjoyment. If you would like to purchase a hard copy, they are $20. You can place an order by contacting the School of Ag main office, at 417-836-5638, until April 15, 2015.