Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Saving One Small Town, Rocheport, Missouri

We remember our impressions of Rocheport when we first came to town.  It was 1985 and there really wasn't much going on here.  Old buldings weren't in good condition.  Most commercial space was empty except for piled up junk inside.  Many historic homes appeared unloved and some had been torn down and replaced by trailer homes.  Only a few children played in public areas.

Rocheport was, however, a very small town and we love small towns almost no matter what.  These are the places where generations of Americans have grown up.  We kept returning to Rocheport for visits.  The small town heart of Rocheport still beat and there remained a loyal nucleus of residents hoping to save this place from the fate of many, perhaps most, small towns across our country.

After several years of day visits, we bought a building lot to construct a historic replica home in our historic neighborhood location.  Our investment added to energy and investments of others and soon Rocheport was on the upswing.  Historic properties saw new life.  Small businesses opened and some prospered as more and more Rocheport residents stopped leaving town for employment and made their living working here in the developing tourist trade.  Rocheport's popularity as a tourism destination and great place to live has continued to grow and drive our independent economy.  Property values remain modest but have continued to improve even during the economic stress of the recession.

As very small towns disappear all across America, Rocheport stands as a rare example.  One small town slowly dying and ready to disappear has found new life and prosperity.  Rocheport was named in 2006 "One of America's Ten Coolest Small Towns" by Frommer's Budget Travel.  We invite you to visit and enjoy our wonderful small town.  While you're here, eat at our fine restaurants, enjoy the Missouri River bluff top view from Les Bourgeois Winery and Bistro, hike or bike Katy Trail State Park, and explore our small shops.  Of course, you'll want to spend a night or two at Yates House Bed & Breakfast.  We think you'll love Rocheport.

Conrad and Dixie Yates
Your Innkeepers