Gravois Mills, MO
One of Missouri’s more unusual
roadside attractions has to be “The Cup Tree.” Known to
visitors of the Lake of the Ozarks west side for decades, this once
stately old oak is now but a shadow of its former “glory.”
near Gravois Mills, five miles down State Road 135-3 — otherwise
known as Cup Tree Drive — the oak stump covered with cups has been a favorite
destination for lake visitors since the 1950s. Originally owned by local resident
Fred Moore, the phenomenon’s origins are a mystery shrouded in years of
ever-changing explanations and folklore. The current owner is no more forthcoming
with a plausible explanation as to why generations of tourists have left cups,
saucers and even tea and coffee pots dangling from the tree.
Today, only about
10 feet of hollow trunk remains. The remnant of the original black oak still
bears cups but not nearly as many as in the past, locals say.
Nearby, on the
same property, a new Lake landmark has developed. “The Shoe
Fence,” is a short section of wire fence that each season
attracts a bewildering assortment of footwear. Shoes hang from every strand
and post. Some are in pairs, others are placed individually. Some bear autographs
or inscriptions honoring the placer or an event in their lives. The owner of
the property claims 1,000 people a year stop by to see the two oddities.
reach The Cup Tree and Shoe Fence take Highway 5 (north from Laurie
or south from Gravois Mills) to State Road 135. Watch for Road 135-3,
or Cup Tree Drive. Turn and drive 5 miles.