In 1853, Daniel Doresy Moss acquired this property which became known as "Hill Crest Farm". Mr. Moss was an associate professor of chemistry at the Unversity of Missouri and he began the business of producing smallpox vaccine at this location. This business continued for several years until competition in the vaccine business made it more profitable to raise cows on the farm. Dairying became the chief income operation of Hill Crest Farm, and this business, under several ownerships but using the same name, "Hillcrest Dairy", was the primary use of the property.
The Moss home, a stately, two-story, frame structure was the site of much social life for Columbians during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After the Moss Family ceased living in the home, it was converted to small apartments and during the 1950's and 60's, University of Missouri students frequently rented rooms in the home.
At the time of its donation to the Department of Conservation, the Moss home, the "Grade A" dairy barn and foreman's house had been converted to small, rental apartments. Students who rented these rooms enjoyed the best of the country living while still being less than one mile from the campus of the university.
Both Mr. C.B. Moss and Mr. H.J. Waters donated their respective parts of the Hillcrest farm to the Department in 1972. Each retained life estate for himself, and in the case of Mr. Waters, for his wife also. Both gentlemen preceded Mrs. Waters in death, and in 1975 the Department took possession of the Moss twenty acre tract which contained the house and converted apartments.
The house was remodeled to serve as office space for department personnel based in Columbia, and it served in this capacity until January, 1983. Department personnel moved from the Moss house at that time and it was to be sold for material salvage in preparation for the construction of the Columbia District Headquarters. Shortly after it was empty, an arsonist set the structure afire in the early morning hours and it was completely incinerated.
The Department took possession of the entire area after Mrs. Waters' death in 1985. In 2009 the Department entered into an agreement with the City of Columbia to manage part of this area as a city park. The MDC offices and shop were remodeled to accomodate park activities and other park developments are ongoing.