Place:Cook Station, Crawford, Missouri, United States


NameCook Station
TypeInhabited place
Coordinates37.8°N 91.433°W
Located inCrawford, Missouri, United States
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

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Cook Station is an unincorporated community in southern Crawford County, Missouri, United States. It is located about ten miles south of Steelville.

The village of Cook Station was named after Christopher Columbus Cook who was born Aug. 13, 1828 in Tennessee. Christopher Columbus Cook first visited Missouri in 1848, returned briefly to his native state, then came back to settle in Crawford County during the 1850s with his father and mother, David and Rhode Cook.

The Cook's were of German descent and were farmers. David Cook was granted 2,000 acres of land from President Buchanan around 1850 in the Meremec River valley in what would eventually become known as Cook Station. Christopher Columbus Cook had Southern family ties and sympathies, joined the Confederate Army during the Civil War and served as the captain of Missouri Company F, 5th Infantry. Violence racked the Cook Station community during the Civil War. Land to the south was owned by the Cook's who were slave owners. Land to the north was owned by the Taff's, also original settlers but with northern learnings. After four years in the Confederate Army in the area, C.C. Cook resumed farming. His death at Cook Station was on Sept. 26, 1900.

After the Civil War, the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad built a branch line from Cuba, Missouri through the Meremec Valley to Salem, Missouri. Two passenger and two freight trains passed through Cook Station daily delivering passengers, mail and ice. The steam engines stopped behind William Taff's general store to take on water from a crystal spring which flowed through the center of town, and which women placed spring boxes to chill their milk and butter.

The United States Post Office department granted a postal permit to Cook Station in 1874, and that is when its name became official. By the start of the 20th century, Cook Station was a prosperous valley. It soon had two stores, a hotel plus a bank and a busy depot. The bank operated up until 1932 when it closed following a robbery.

A school and community building was built and dedicated on August 29, 1942 with Mrs. T.J. Bales as Master of Ceremonies and a dedication address by Mr. J.H. Brand. The Cook Station School was last used for school at the elementary level in 1959-60.

The Dunlap Hotel is still located there, as well as a general store and a bank. There were regularly dances in town in the 30s and 40s, and the area became a popular destination as a swimming area in the 50’s and 60’s after the train stopped coming through. The original general store was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1905. Most of the population of Cook Station lives on the surrounding farms that make up what is considered Cook Station. There are quite a few cattle, goat, and dairy farms in this general area.

Cook Station is located very near the beginning of the Meramec River, and often sees spring flooding throughout the valley it is located in.

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