The Village Scene
Prior to the Civil War
Supplies, merchandise, people, and animals followed the route of the Santa Fe Trail from the Missouri River through Main Street, Arrow Rock’s primary east-west artery. Consequently, commercial businesses were concentrated on the river end of town on both sides of Main Street while churches and other institutional buildings were scattered throughout the community.
Property in Arrow Rock
Most properties in Arrow Rock were devoted to residential use, which in the 19th century meant that many back and side yards contained a multitude of outbuildings, animals, and activities. Frequently, these included a garden, various animals (most certainly chickens, a milk cow, and possibly a horse, with the attendant shelter for each), a cistern or well, an outhouse, a separate kitchen, a smokehouse, and, in a few instances, a slave house.
Arrow Rock’s Landscape
To accommodate all these uses and activities many property owners acquired multiple lots, their property extending the full depth of a block. This distinctive ownership pattern had a major impact not only on the functioning and visual appearance of Arrow Rock in the 19th century but also on the Arrow Rock that we see today. Over the years, as these backyard activities became outdated and outbuildings were removed, Arrow Rock’s landscape gradually acquired the park-like quality that characterizes the village in the 21st century.