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Keener Cave has been with us since pre-historic man. During the later part of the 20th century, three Indian dugout canoes where removed in tact from Keener Cave which contains Missouri’s 7th deepest underground lake. Excavation of the cave’s entrance has revealed that the mouth of the cave was sealed up with quarried stones by the early Indians of this area.

During 1838 and 1839 Cherokee Indians were organized and forced to leave their homeland in the Southeastern United States and marched to Oklahoma. During this migration Keener Spring & Cave in Wayne County was a watering hole on the Trail of Tears.


Keeners Landing was one of the first areas settled in Southeast Missouri as pioneers moved away from the Mississippi River. The oringinal town of Keeners was a bustling lumbering area for the virgin timberland in Wayne County. Keeners was also one of the many stops for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad. During the Civil War, Keener Spring served as a Military Hospital for the wounded. The old rock wall still remains today showing the boundaries of the road leading down to the water where the soldiers would ford the river.

In 1872 a Mill was built at Keener Spring. It was known by several names such as Howell’s Mill, Howell & Tuck Mill, Honeycutt’s Mill as well as Reeve’s Mill. Keener Spring was the site of the area’s only grist mill, using the spring to turn its huge water wheel. The Mill was washed away as a result of a record flood in 1915.


In the 1920’s, 30’s, & 40’s Keener Springs was nationally known as a vacation resort where such named entertainers as Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Guy Lombardo appeared.

Over the years the cottages and campsites have been used by vacationers to enjoy the beautiful scenery, fresh air and pure water the Ozark Foothills have to offer.

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