The days when railroads ruled America may have gone the way of the steam engine, but the town of Crocker preserves it railroad history with pride. The cozy city, surrounded by forested hills and rolling farms in the heart of the Ozarks, affords visitors a unique look at a historic railroad town known for its community values and hospitality.
From the railroad tracks that date back to the Frisco Railroad to the red caboose that resides in the heart of town, Crocker embraces its rail roots. What began as a small trading post in the 1800s has grown to be a charming Midwestern town surrounded by the Ozark hills and meandering Gasconade River. Crocker history isn’t limited to the railroads, however; the James Gang, the notorious band of criminals who frequently robbed stagecoaches, trains and banks, once traveled the area regularly. Rumor has it that Jesse James had a cousin who lived in town.
Railroad enthusiasts, history buffs and those who are simply curious are drawn to Crocker’s Frisco Depot Museum and Norma Lea’s Frisco Park. The depot was the last in Pulaski County and served as the mail pickup and drop-off for the rest of the county. Now a museum, the original structure is home not only to county antiques, photographs and old train logs but also of warm memories. Some still recall the time spent by the potbelly stove awaiting the next train that would bring friends and family. After you’ve lingered over the depot’s relics, head out to Frisco Park to visit the Frisco Railroad caboose.
Crocker boasts another park as well, complete with soccer and softball fields, a swimming pool, a fishing pond surrounded by a walking trail and picnic areas with a pavilion. Indulge on a warm afternoon with an escape to our native wildflower prairie. The peaceful meadow is a habitat to a variety of native wildflowers; birds, ducks and geese join visitors in the relaxing environment. Even a blue heron stops occasionally for a visit.
Of course, it’s the people that give a town its character, and Crocker is no exception. Residents pride themselves on their closely held values of faith, patriotism and community. The city park is home to Railroad Days each Labor Day weekend and visitors can’t help but be charmed by this growing community. Plus, Crocker is easily accessible from local highways, making it the perfect day trip.
From the days of the Depression, when teachers volunteered to teach without pay, to the 1940s, when residents housed construction workers from Fort Leonard Wood, Crocker has earned its reputation as a warm, welcoming community. Crocker extends its characteristic hospitality and encourages you to tour its historic landmarks, or take a scenic drive to visit the local parks.