Arrow Rock’s J. Huston Tavern, reputed to be the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi, will begin a new chapter in its storied history when the Friends of Arrow Rock takes over the operation in January.

Under the terms of a cooperative agreement with Missouri State Parks, Friends of Arrow Rock Inc. will manage the J. Huston Tavern beginning Jan. 1, 2019. The organization anticipates opening the restaurant for the 2019 season in March.

The Friends of Arrow Rock was established in 1959, with dual missions of preservation and history education in the National Historic Landmark village of Arrow Rock. The organization currently owns and maintains 13 historic properties in the town and entertains and educates thousands of visitors each year through tours, workshops, school programs, lectures and events.

“Our organization is deeply committed to the preservation of Arrow Rock's historic treasures and certainly the Huston Tavern is no exception,” says Chet Breitwieser, vice president of Friends of Arrow Rock. “Members of our board of trustees were united in their strong desire to keep the Huston Tavern operating in addition to expanding hours, offerings and hospitality.”

The J. Huston Tavern was established in 1834 to provide food and lodging for travelers along the Santa Fe Trail, and has continued to operate ever since. It is the first building in Missouri purchased with public funds for the purpose of historic preservation, and remains a centerpiece of the Arrow Rock State Historic Site.

The Tavern has special meaning for Friends of Arrow Rock. The organization was founded during a statewide meeting of the Daughters of the American Revolution on June 14, 1959, at the J. Huston Tavern.

“Our organization actually began inside that building,” said Donna Huston, president of Friends of Arrow Rock. “We’re excited by the opportunity to keep the Tavern going and look forward to continuing a 185-year tradition of good, home-style food and warm hospitality.”

Since its inception, the Friends of Arrow Rock have cooperated with and supported the mission of Arrow Rock State Historic Site to promote the understanding of Missouri history through ongoing education programs and interpretive activities. Learn more at FriendsofArrowRock.org and mostateparks.com. Arrow Rock is located 14 miles north of Interstate 70 at exits 89 or 98 on U.S. Highway 41.