Mt. Zion Restoration

Mt. Zion Church is an Ozark landmark building, constructed in the 1930’s on a hill above the Current River, in Shannon County Missouri, with native stone. It is in dire need of renovations so it can stand another 100 years into the future.

This project has raised


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Project Completed

Pledge Incentives

$10.00 Level

35 Supporters

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$25.00 Level

9 Supporters

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$50.00 Level

6 Supporters

Your generous donation puts us $50 closer to our goal! Please plan on returning to this page to check our project’s progress as we near our deadline.

$100.00 Level

5 Supporters

Your generous donation puts us $100 closer to our goal! Please plan on returning to this page to check our project’s progress as we near our deadline.

Project Overview

The Mt. Zion Communtity Church stands on a hill overlooking the Current River, just above Akers and just below the "Devil's Backbone" on K highway, in Shannon County.  It was built on donated land from George and Jane Purcell back in the 1930s.  Many Ozark families along the Current River- the Maggards, Purcells, Dooleys, Fergusons, Rileys, Summers, Howells, Hodgeses, Farrises, Stringers, Terrills, Medlocks, Greens- among others, would have attended this church for community events and more importantly to worship God in their beautiful countryside. It is built of native stone, gathered and placed by hand in the Ozark vernacular style of the early 1900s. It was completed in 1948.  

Although it has stood the test of time, it is in need of major repairs to preserve it for the future.  It is the last remaining  building of its kind in the Upper Current River community.  It is the best reminder that Akers, Rector, and Cedar Grove, Missouri were once vibrant, thriving communities back in the early 1900s.

The building stands on ground owned by the National Park Service, and belongs to the NPS, but due to lack of funding the building has deteriorated.  The Ozark Riverways Foundation, along with a local community group "Friends of Mt Zion", are asking for your financial help with the restoration costs of this piece of tangible Ozark history estimated to be near $60,000.

 It is our desire to preserve and protect Mt Zion for historical purposes, and to be enjoyed as a gathering spot for holiday celebrations, community celebrations and worship, visitor and tourists' point of interest and as an inspirational place along the beautiful upper Current River.

Your donation through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks is appreciated.  Or you can mail a donation to PO Box 1, Eminence, Missouri 65466, or visit Please tag your donations "Mt Zion". 


My Zion Church at Akers

Good Morning Everyone,
Thank you so much for making our Give Ozarks Day fundraiser for Mt Zion a success. Come out to Akers tomorrow (May 22nd) and join us for the Upper Current River Community Celebration at Akers. Mt Zion church will be opened up about 11am so you can take a tour of the building and see the needed repairs first hand. Judy Maggard Stewart, and others, will also be there to share some history on the community and church. At 9am you can walk from the parking lot of the old lodge, to the Welch Hospital where Regina VanPatten will share history on that structure and community. Or at 9am you can take a short float trip with Dave Tobey from the Welch “put in” back to Akers. Gene Maggard is offering $10 off a rental. Be sure to check in at Akers at 8am to rent and catch the shuttle to the put-in. At 10am you can take a free ride on the Akers Ferry and learn the history on the ferry and how it operates. There will also be informational tents of Cedar Grove and Akers, Missouri history. Bring a lawn chair and a picnic lunch, and enjoy a day along the beautiful Current River. At 2pm, we will do a cemetery walk, learn some more history and possibly see ghosts of Akers past.

I look forward to meeting you. Find me in the Cedar Grove tent.

Ruth Maxwell, sec. Ozark Riverways Foundation

Upper Current River Celebration

Good Morning All,

We had a beautiful day at Akers, Missouri on Saturday. Following is a wrap up of the day. I thought you all would enjoy it.

By Judy Maggard Stewart
Saturday May 22 was a fun day of celebrating the river community of Akers and the upper Current River.

Dave Tobey led a paddle from Welch Spring to Akers. Barb Ostmann shared the local lore and legend of the Howell-Maggard cabin with float participants. Regina Van Patten shared her family's history of Welch Spring, cave and hospital.

Gene Maggard, Margaret Ard, Rick Mansfield, Deloris Gray Wood and Judy Maggard Stewart shared their memories of Akers Ferry and other ferries on the Current and Jacks Fork River. Ferry boats played a big part in improving the lives of the Ozark Mountain people by connecting them to other communities for working, shopping and social events.

Ervin Taylor, Kevin Purcell and Judy Maggard Stewart shared their family histories with Mt. Zion Church. Judy’s grandparents, George and Jane Purcell, donated the land in the 1930s. Ervin’s grandparents, Jason and Ada Boyet, built the stone walls of the building. Judy’s parents, Buck and Loreen Maggard , and Kevin's grandparents, Elmer and Hattie Purcell, along with other families in the community, helped construct this beautiful building, which was completed in 1948. The church is now part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR).

Jo Schaper shared her knowledge of Ozarks geology. She explained the Ozark-style tooling of the concrete between the rocks, which is a unique method. Dena Matteson and Skyler Bockman, both with ONSR, shared the plan for an informational wayside marker to be placed at Mt. Zion by the park service.

Ruth Ruppel-Maxwell, a resident of Cedar Grove and secretary of the Ozark Riverways Foundation (ORF), organized the first fundraiser for the preservation of Mt. Zion through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks' “Give Ozarks Day” in March, which raised more than $2,000. ORF had already received a grant for $2,000 from the L-A-D Foundation. The ORF's Mt. Zion fund now has $4,200, dedicated toward the approximate $60,000 needed to restore the church. Stay tuned for future fund-raising events.

Local organizations that set up booths to share their information included ONSR, ORF, Shannon County Museum, Cedar Grove families, Ozark Heritage Project, Friends of Mt. Zion, and the Dent County Historical Society.

Rick Mansfield, Civil War ghost re-enactor, led a tour of the nearby Akers Cemetery, sharing funeral traditions of the Ozark Mountain people. The cemetery is managed by the Akers Cemetery Association and appreciates donations for the upkeep.

It was a landmark day for the park and the foundation. Jason Lott, the ONSR Superintendent, and members of the ORF Board of Directors signed the park agreement to become the official Friends group for the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. You, too, can become a member of the non-profit ORF and help support the preservation and promotion of the Current and Jacks Fork rivers; visit the Ozark Riverways Foundation on FaceBook for more information.
It was a fun day at Akers. A big thanks to Skyler Bockman, District Interpretative Ranger; Dena Matteson, Chief of Interpretation; Jason Lott, Superintendent of ONSR; our visitors; our partnership organizations; and our locals who shared their history of Akers.


About Ozark Riverways Foundation

Our foundation was organized to work with the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, a unit of the National Park Service, in preservation and promotion of the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers. We will deliver programs for scientific, historical, cultural, educational, ecological, recreational, agricultural, and scenic opportunities. We are a friend to the park and the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, in partnership through activities that may include fundraising, volunteerism, education, advocacy and research. 

Ozark Riverways Foundation

Eminence, MO