Babler State Park

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Coordinates: 38°37′12″N 90°41′40″W / 38.62000°N 90.69444°W / 38.62000; -90.69444
Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park
Missouri State Park
Babler Memorial - 20131102-114.jpg
Country United States
State Missouri
County St. Louis County
City Wildwood
Coordinates 38°37′12″N 90°41′40″W / 38.62000°N 90.69444°W / 38.62000; -90.69444
Area 3.8 sq mi (10 km2)
Founded June 23, 1937
Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park Historic District
Nearest city Grover, Missouri
Area 2,325 acres (941 ha)
Built 1935 (1935)
Architectural style Rustic
Governing body State
MPS ECW Architecture in Missouri State Parks 1933-1942 TR
NRHP Reference # 85000539[1]
Added to NRHP February 27, 1985

Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park[2] (also called Babler State Park) is located in Wildwood, Missouri. It was established on June 23, 1937 by Governor Lloyd Stark. The park offers many activities including hiking, picnicking, bicycling, horseback riding and camping.


Edmund A. Babler was born on October 11, 1874 in Appleton City, Missouri. He graduated from Missouri Medical College, now known as Washington University Medical School, and became a general surgeon. He developed a large private surgical practice in St. Louis. The stories say that he spent the majority of his time devoting himself to charity cases and took much pride in his work for the unfortunate. His premature death at age 55 from pneumonia was a source of great sadness for his admirers and family. His funeral was one of the largest ever held in St. Louis.

Moved by the public sympathy and respect, Edmund's brother Jacob L. Babler began searching for a way to preserve his brother's memory. Being a successful business graduate from St. Louis Law School, known today as Washington University, he had extensive investments in farm land and real estate. On August 20, 1930, Jacob Babler and his younger brother Henry Babler gave 868 acres of land to the State of Missouri, to be named the Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State park. These were difficult and trying times in the world, and although they continued to give more land to the state between 1934 and 1936, Jacob had to seek the help of friend John J. Cochran, Congressman, in order to obtain federal aid for the state in order to develop the park. This aid came in the form of designating two Civilian Conservation Camps (CCC) to be stationed within the park to develop the property. With the help of Conrad Wirth, Director of the National Park System, plans were developed to establish a trust fund that would support construction, maintenance, and operations at the park. A state bill was passed to fomarlly accept the land and was signed by Governor Lloyd Stark on June 23, 1937. The park was formally dedicated on October 1, 1938 at a ceremony in which Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior, spoke before an assembly of 3,500 guests. This was when the statue of Dr. Babler was unveiled in its current location.

Jacob Babler continued throughout the rest of his life to support the park dedicated to his brother, and the Missouri State Park system as a whole. He sponsored a proposal before the Constitution Convention of 1944, resulting in a fund developed to earmark $400,000 a year for 15 years to be used to acquire and develop additional land in the Missouri State Park System. Overcoming the lull of park development during the Great Depression and World War II, some of our most popular Missouri State Parks were acquired and developed between 1946 and 1960. Jacob L. Babler's support of the park system earned him the title of "Father of Missouri's State Parks".



  • Hawthorn Trail, 1.25 miles
  • Dogwood Trail, 2 miles
  • Woodbine Trail, 1.75 miles
  • Virginia Day Memorial Nature Trail, 2 miles



  • Paved Biking Trail, 2 Miles

Horseback Riding[edit]


  • Equestrian Trail, 6 Miles


Shaded campsites at Babler


  • Year-round camping is available. All sites include a parking spot, a picnic table, a lantern post, and a charcoal grill.
  • Additional sites are available:
* Basic Sites
* Electric Sites
* Group Sites
* Special-Use Sites
  • On-season (April through October) services include campsite reservations, a camper dump station, shower houses, and water.
  • Off-Season (November through March) offers limited services:
* Running water is only available at the special-use camping site and Campground Host site.
* The dump station is available, but will be unable to wash out tanks.
* No flush toilets will be available, only pit toilets.


Cochran picnic shelter


  • Over 200 picnic sites are placed throughout the park for use.
  • Three shelters are available on a first-come first-served basis if not reserved.
    • Cochran Shelter holds up to 70 people and is equipped with charcoal grill.
    • Walnut Grove Shelter holds up to 50 people and has a charcoal grill.
    • Alta Shelter, the largest shelter, holds up to 130 people and comes equipped with two charcoal grills.

External links[edit]