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Arrow Rock is a village in Saline Countymarker, Missourimarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 79 at the 2000 census. The musical "Tom Sawyer" (1973) based on the novel by Mark Twain was filmed here. Arrow Rock Historic Districtmarker, a U.S. National Historic Landmark is located here.


Arrow Rock is located at (39.070117, -92.947364) . According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²), all of it land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 79 people, 39 households, and 24 families residing in the town. The population density was 592.5 people per square mile (234.6/km²). There were 62 housing units at an average density of 465.0/sq mi (184.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 100.00% White.

There were 39 households out of which 17.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.03 and the average family size was 2.52.

In the town the population was spread out with 13.9% under the age of 18, 3.8% from 18 to 24, 11.4% from 25 to 44, 35.4% from 45 to 64, and 35.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 57 years. For every 100 females there were 97.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $45,000, and the median income for a family was $46,875. Males had a median income of $46,250 versus $35,417 for females. The per capita income for the town was $28,344. None of the population and none of the families were below the poverty line.

Notable residents


In 1804 Lewis and Clark passed through Arrow Rock and noted the salt licks around the Missouri River. The town itself was formed in 1829, when Westbound settlers and traders decided they liked the area. Originally called Philadelphia, the town's name was changed in 1833 to Arrow Rock. The new name came from the fact Native Americans used to gather flint from the area to make arrowheads. Due to Arrow Rock's location on the Missouri Rivermarker and along the Santa Fe Trail, a large number of travelers passed through. Joseph Huston, originally from Virginia, began construction on a two story brick building in 1834, which became known as the Old Tavern. The Old Tavern was a general store and tavern, and also served as a hotel. “By 1860, Arrow Rock had become Saline County’s most important river port, with a population of more than 1,000. Nearly half that number were African-Americans” (The Village of Arrow Rock 2007). As a tribute to the immigrants the Old Tavern, the stone gutters on Main Street, and other early structures still remain.

These historical forces contributed to local legislative oddities that persist to this day. In 1863, a shipment of supplies for Union outposts on the western frontier ran aground on a mud flat exposed by a drought's shifting of the Missouri Rivermarker. Proprietors of the Old Tavern claimed the supplies under a uniquely Western interpretation of maritime law, and offloaded the shipment as day turned into night. The most fungible goods - five hundred pounds of coffee beans and sundry associated grinders - were removed first, along with the tactically prudent small arms ammunition. When authorities arrived the following morning to dispute the claims, they found the local citizenry overly alert and well-armed. In the ensuing firefight, a stray round glancing off the native flint struck sparks which ignited several kegs of gunpowder still remaining aboard the stranded barge, resulting in the embarrassed termination of the dispute by both sides.

It is rumored that the errant shot was fired by the Mayor while under the influence of fresh-brewed coffee laced with quinine and other anti-malarials, which caused his hands to tremble and his aim to be poor. In the aftermath of this event, the Mayor blamed the entire incident on the unaccustomed richness of the coffee. He arranged for the local grinding of coffee beans to be outlawed, as a rider to legislation designed to smooth over the state and federal implications of the matter while still saving face for the community. To this day, the coffee prohibition remains in effect.

Historic Properties

Along with the Old Tavern Arrow Rock has several other properties that have been deemed historic. The J.P. Sites Gun Shop, dated back to 1830, began as a cottage. It was remodeled in the mid 1870s, adding two bedrooms upstairs. The J.P. Sites Gun Shop was home to Arrow Rock's gunsmith. Other Historic Properties include the Log Cabin, the Miler House, the Brown Lodge, the Christian Church, the Lawless House, the Brown Chapel, and the Post Office. The George Caleb Bingham Housemarker has been designated a National Historic Landmark.


Dr. Timothy E. Baumann has conducted excavations within the community, exploring African-American life and culture. His excavations span through time from slavery to emancipation. “Work on enslaved African-American homes at two plantations, as well as on a post-Civil War African-American community in Arrow Rock. The latter consisted of research on multiple households, a schoolhouse, a church, a Masonic lodge, and a speakeasy” (Missouri Valley College 2005). Dr. Baumann is currently the Museum Consultant for Friends of Arrow Rock Inc.


Arrow Rock is home to one of Missouri's State Parks, which the park overlooks the Missouri River.


“The Villages of Arrow Rock: A Bit of History.” 28 April 2008. />. Retrieved April 14, 2008."Missouri Valley College" 2005. Dr. Timothy E. Baumann. /> Retrieved April 14, 2008.

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