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Central Yesterday

Pertle Springs: Serving the Generations

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These men became an important part of the local economy for four years, patronizing local businesses and entertainment venues. Some moved their families to Warrensburg and became permanent residents.

The University of Central Missouri acquired Pertle Springs in 1959, and planning began for the further development of the area for student recreation. The lodge, built in 1929 by James Christopher on the site of the original Hotel Minnewawa, became a center for campus gatherings and social events. UCM students and the general public continued to take advantage of the wooded acreage, picnic areas and the opportunities for boating and fishing in Lake Cena.

Pertle Springs

A nine-hole, sand green golf course constructed in 1964 on acreage just south of Lake Cena later was expanded to 18 holes and grass greens. In addition, a swimming pool with shower facilities and a pro shop, built through the generosity of local donors, were added to the recreational facilities in the 1960s.


The course was named Keth Memorial Golf Course in 1972 after the late Earl Keth, who served as Mules head basketball coach from 1946 to 1961. Keth was the guiding force behind development of men's golf as an intercollegiate sport at UCM and the construction of the golf course.

The advent of the 21st century brought a new vision to Pertle Springs. The lodge had been razed in the 1980s after it was determined it was beyond repair, and the pool was closed in 2002 due to university budget cuts.


In 2008 plans were implemented to update the Keth Memorial Golf Course and develop it into a state-of-the-art public facility. The building that housed the pro shop was razed, and a driving range was built with four indoors bays, new putting greens and a chipping area.

The most recent development is the construction of the Audrey J. Walton Clubhouse, which includes a pro shop, banquet room, professional kitchen facilities and three offices, providing new life to Pertle Springs as a gathering place for the campus and community.

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Comments About This Article

Great historical value. Not enough is written about Warrensburg's history and character so this is a nice take.

Really enjoyed the article. I attended several events in the lodge while in school in the 60's.

We had a very casual, evening wedding reception in the Pertle Springs Lodge in June of 1984. We had a band, dancing and Ross from the golf course catered a picnic style meal for us. All our guests commented on how much they liked the character of the old Lodge (despite it not being in the best of shape at the time). It's too bad that the Lodge couldn't have been saved/restored. Thanks for the look back at Pertle Springs, Mr. Greife! L. Allen

I was excited to read this article about Pertle Springs. As a senior in Mass Communications/Public Relations, I shot many a beautiful photo and even an 8mm film there in 1974. I was fortunate to live on East Hale Lake Rd, with my Instructor husband. Our back yard faced the very front of the Park and it was such a pleasure watching the change of seasons from our little glassed in dining room! I made a trip from KC to Pertle Springs a few years ago and noticed that our little bungalow was gone, as were our neighbors. Very sad. However, the memories live on in photos and in heart. Thanks for this article.

Nice to learn about the history of the area.

I graduated in 1981. One of my favorite memories was being a part of the campus "Swinging Mules" Square Dance Club! We held a square dance out at the lodge with Gene Tate as the caller. What a lot of fun!

Wonderful article which brought back many memories of our year at CMSU. My wife and I were both in graduate school, and Pertle Springs was a great adventure for our 5- and 3-year olds who learned to swim in the pool at Pertle. Thanks!!!

My wife and I were married in the old lodge in August of 1980! We were somewhat disappointed when the lodge was razed. We do still have many fond memories of picknics at the lake while we were students at CMSU and picnics with our two children and two nephews while they were students at UCM.

Pertle was alive in its own way in the 1950's and 60's.

Super article... thank you!!

I attended CMSU from 1974-78. Pertle Springs is where I played or tried to play golf for the first time. I enjoyed the setting and hope that the university maintains Pertle long into the future.

When I was back for my Dad's memorial in 2010 I wondered what had happened to the pool and the clubhouse. I recall several events at the lodge in the late 70s and early 80s. I was glad to hear that the area is being rebuilt and will continue to be a place where students and home town residents can enjoy.

Enjoyed the article. Would be nice for alumni who do not have the opportunity to visit the campus, to see pictures of how it is today. I was at CMU from 1960-64. Obviously, the facility was just being figured out as to how to use it. Spent a number of good times there though and believe it was a wonderful addition to the campus life.

My former husband and I had the pleasure of living at the lodge at Pertle Springs for a couple of years in the 1970's, along with another couple. We performed minor upkeep and acted as chaperones for parties held at the lodge. This "smaller lodge" was a beautiful building; this article brought back fond memories of a time when Pertle Springs was bustling with activity!

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