"The James Foundation, administered by the NY Community Trust, operates Maramec Spring Park, the St. James Park, James Memorial Library and is responsible for many community improvement projects over the years."
The James Family founded the Maramec Iron Works in 1826 which led to the establishment of the town of St. James in the 1800s. The Iron Works fell into bankruptcy and the land changed hands several times before Lucy Wortham James, the grandaughter of Thomas James, bought it back in 1926 and created a park for the enjoyment of the people of St. James and surrounding community. Lucy Wortham James created the James Foundation with specific instructions as to the use of the land and the income produced from the trust. This park averages over 560,000 visitors yearly. The spring averages 96 million gallons a day. Interest from the trust continues to enhance living in the St. James area.
QUALITY OF LIFE. Top-notch schools and educational institutions here include the University of Missouri-Rolla, recognized worldwide for its engineers. Other amenities include quality health care, well-built homes at below-city prices, competitive utility rates and a host of genuine people who are committed to making you feel right at home. People here enjoy small town charm, but with all the convenience of the big city without the traffic!
RICH CULTURE. The 7-county Meramec Region is home to 138,207 people and 29 communities, and all still possess a flavor of their ancestors.
The northern portion shows a strong Germanic influence. In the southern reaches of the region - primarily Dent, Crawford and part of Phelps counties - one still sees the heavy influence of English immigrants, who first called Kentucky and Tennessee home but then moved to the Ozarks when Kentucky and Tennessee became "too crowded." The areas in between possess a mixture of Italian heritage in the wine-growing area around St. James and Rosati and a French connection in Washington County. Due in part to this rich cultural blend, the region is steadily growing.
ECONOMIC FACTORS. Wal-Mart Distribution Center opened recently in St. James with over 750 jobs. This is also the site of Boys and Girls Town of Missouri and the Missouri Veterans Home.
Other major employers in the region are the University of Missouri-Rolla with 1,500 employees followed closely by Phelps County Regional Medical Center with 1,114 employees plus several state and federal institutions including the United States Geological Survey and several highly technical businesses. The region's two major private manufacturing employers are Von Hoffman Graphics in Owensville with 600 employees and Briggs & Stratton with an estimated 750 employees.
Over the years, the region has diversified its economy. Service is a large sector but manufacturing is increasing. The 2001 Missouri Directory of Manufacturers listed 273 manufacturing firms in the region.
EDUCATION. Committed to excellence, many area schools have achieved awards and recognition, such as Blue Ribbon schools, A+ schools and accelerated schools. Students earn hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships, largely from local efforts. Higher education in the region is heads above the rest and still growing with many new facilities under construction.
The University of Missouri-Rolla plus other four-year and post-graduate programs are available in the region thanks to outreach efforts. Such schools as Columbia College, Drury College, Southwest Baptist University, East Central College and Webster University have established education centers here.
Vocational training is varied and abundant at Linn State Technical College, Rolla Technical Institute and Rolla Technical Center.
QUALITY HEALTH CARE. Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) recently underwent a $12-million, 7,200 sq ft expansion. Level III trauma center. A progressive hospital with 232 beds and more than 100 doctors, it continually adds new services and state-of-the-art equipment to meet the needs of the region.
Four other local hospitals, located in Sullivan, Salem, Hermann and Potosi, also provide top-notch health care. Plus more and more specialists and hospitals are establishing outreach practices in the region. Fort Leonard Wood Army Hospital serves retired military personnel. Numerous doctors, dentists, chiropractors and psychologists can be found throughout the region as well, and urgent care facilities are becoming commonplace here.
RECREATION. Opportunities to play abound in the Meramec Region! There are plenty of clear, meandering streams, including the Meramec, Gasconade, Courtois and Huzzah rivers, perfect for boating, floating, swimming and fishing for trout, bass, catfish & crappie. Maramec Spring Park has a trout hatchery and fishing and a wonderful historical agricultural museum. Onondaga Cave and Jesse James Hideout are more special attractions. Missouri is known as "The Cave State" for good reason! Campgrounds galore & wooded areas filled with deer and turkey are other attractions among nature's wonders.
The region is filled with parks that offer an array of sights and sounds. Places like Maramec Spring, a former late 1800s iron works operation, and Dillard Mill, a restored grist mill, allow one to relive olden days, learn about history and picnic amid beautiful surroundings.
Antique and craft shops located in "every" community in the region, and almost all communities offer local recreational opportunities in the form of parks, trails, swimming pools, summer ball leagues, country clubs, libraries and golf courses as well as annual fairs, festivals and celebrations that often feature nationally known entertainers.
Setting the Meramec Region apart from its neighbors are most definitely its wineries. Both St. James and Hermann have their share of wineries. Hermann is also well known for its German heritage, its Maifests and Octoberfests.
Many area communities have theatre groups that produce plays throughout the year. The University of Missouri-Rolla, with its Leach Theatre, hosts many quality plays, inspiring lectures and symphonies.
HOUSING. The Meramec Region has 63,105 total housing units with 53,541 occupied, according to the 2000 Census. The average population per unit in the region is 2.51 people, which is very close to the state average of 2.48 people. Of the 53,541 occupied units, 40,141 are owner occupied while 13,400 are renter occupied.