Posts Tagged ‘Missouri’


If The Creek Don’t Rise

01 water and rosesLinda Burton posting from Topeka, Kansas – The morning light in Jefferson City revealed water. The weather radio was exhausted after a night of blaring out flood warnings and thunderstorm realities and tornado possibilities. At least, I was exhausted from listening to it. The front desk had warned all guests to park in the back lot, assuring us the hotel wouldn’t flood but the street out front probably would. It did. I threw on yesterday’s clothes and headed outside for a walk around the premises, glad to discover it was only the front street under water just past the 01 water uprose bushes; from the back parking lot I could exit uphill and make it to the highway just fine. “It’s a go,” I told the cats, as I hauled the cart into the room. One shower and four cartloads later, we were on the road, in good faith that last night’s line of storms was far to the east, and the roads west had not been breached by Missouri River overflow. It was 224 miles to Topeka; 30 miles to Columbia on US 63 (cross the Missouri River once); then I-70 for 128 miles (cross the Missouri River twice) to the Kansas state line (cross the Kansas 01 topeka on 70 signRiver just before it flows into the Missouri). Luck was with us; the Missouri looked angry and long stretches of lowlands lay underwater, but all roads were open. Independence lured us to stay in Missouri a little longer. The Harry S Truman Presidential Library! The National Frontier Trails Museum! Kansas City, Missouri offered the Kansas City Royals and tall buildings and the American Jazz Museum. But no stopping; it was westward ho to the Sunflower state, hoping to find Toto in Kansas today. And sure enough, the sun came out. » read more


Superlative, In A Word

30 capitol carLinda Burton posting from Jefferson City, Missouri – I parked squarely in front of the building. No parking meter, no driving round and round the block. Good. Thomas Jefferson’s statue overlooked the scene from the top of the massive steps. Distinctive. I couldn’t manage that many steps but never fear, just to the right a wide ramp took me behind the steps; it once was the carriage entrance. Super. Inside the automatic door and straight ahead to the Visitor Desk, where tours are offered seven days a week. Fantastic. Jim was ready to begin the 11 o’clock tour; a couple entered just after me and off we went into the rotunda, first stop, the state seal, gleaming golden in the shiny marble floor. “No, we don’t have grizzly bears roaming around Missouri,” Jim laughed, as he pointed to the two large bears on either side of the seal. “But they do represent strength.” A smaller bear and an eagle bearing arrows and olive branches in its claws filled the center, along with a crescent, representing potential for growth. The words “United we stand, divided we fall” surround the seal; a banner below carries the state motto “Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto,” a Latin phrase 30 sealmeaning “Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law.” Powerful. Thirty-four stars across the top represent Missouri becoming the 34th state in 1821; Jim pointed to what might be considered an error at the bottom – “That date is 1820, which is when our constitution was written, although Missouri was not admitted to the Union until the next year.” Jim went on to explain that this building, completed in 1917, is the third built in Jefferson City, and the sixth that has served the state. “Let’s head upstairs” he said. “I’ll show you something there.” » read more


Glory, Glory, Hallelujah

27 julia howeLinda Burton posting from Jefferson City, Missouri – “…as I lay waiting for the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to twine themselves in my mind….I said to myself, ‘I must…write these verses down, lest I fall asleep again and forget them.’ So, with a sudden effort, I sprang out of bed, and…scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper.” These are the words of Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910), a prominent American abolitionist, social activist, and poet, describing the November morning she wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic. The year was 1861 and the poem was published in The Atlantic Monthly in February of the next year. Julia’s lyrics were intended to link the “judgment of the wicked at the end of time” with the American Civil War; since then it has become one of the most familiar and well-loved American patriotic songs. On this Memorial Day in Middle America, it was performed for likely the million-umpteenth time as the swelling finale for the Jefferson City Community Symphonic Band concert at the First Christian Church. Glory, glory, hallelujah; soaring up to the rafters, what a fitting end to a beautiful concert. 27 church insideThe band was really good, a collection of non-professional musicians from the area; since Paul Hinman and Steve Eubanks organized them back in 2010 they’ve put on several concerts a year. Today’s was, fittingly, a tribute to all our military forces, past, present, and future; with a variety of patriotic songs, from Civil War medleys to Star Wars, but The Battle Hymn was the icing on the cake. Glory, glory, hallelujah rang in my head as I made my way to the door of the church, and then turned back. Outside, lightning, thunder, and bucket-rain were putting on another show. » read more


Jeff City

23 jeff city skylineLinda Burton posting from Jefferson City, Missouri – The City of Jefferson. That’s the official name of Jefferson City, although locals affectionately call it Jeff City, or just home. Somebody wanted to name it Missouriopolis, way back in its beginnings, but it wound up being named for Thomas Jefferson; I’m sure schoolchildren learning to spell are glad of that. If you’re wondering why such a small city in such an out-of-the-way place is the designated state capital, the answer is found in the 1820 constitution of the soon-to-be-state of Missouri. Under Article X, Of the Permanent Seat of Government, the General Assembly was directed to name five commissioners to select a site for a capital city, with the stipulation “that no place shall be selected which is not situated on the bank of the Missouri River, and within forty miles of the mouth of the river Osage.” Rivers were the highways of the frontier, you see, “forever free to the citizens of this state and of the 25 flagsUnited States;” waterways carried the freight and passengers pushing west. The spot chosen is actually 18 miles from the mouth of the Osage; and although a few overrides of that dictum have been tried over the years; here it remains. Jeff City is what you have in mind when you think of the ideal small town; American flags fly permanently from every street post; flower pots grace the sidewalks where outdoor tables invite you to sit and eat. On weekends, traffic lights are set to blinking red, making them four-way stops; no hurry; no wasted time. It has a 60’s look, in fact, that’s the idea. I’ve heard that a purring cat in your lap lowers blood pressure by ten points; I say so does a sidewalked town, with trees, and benches, and petunias. » read more


A Real Deal

23 signing statueLinda Burton posting from Jefferson City, Missouri – It’s time to talk about the Louisiana Purchase. The LP is one of those American History standards we are taught early in school; that memorable moment when the United States doubled in size in just a day under the wise leadership of President Jefferson, who soon after hired Lewis and Clark to explore the new land. Now that I’m here, in the city named for that president, by the river that served as the pathway for exploration by the Discovery Corps, I am inspired to dig deeper into the details. Inspired, and intrigued; I came across a monument when I walked behind the capitol today; an imposing sculpture just beyond a lovely fountain, high on the bluff above the Missouri River. It’s a theater-like setting, three men on a stage, a recreation in bronze of an event that happened long ago. I moved closer to read the 23 signing statue and bridgeinscription; Monroe. Livingston. Marbois. 1803. That’s all it said, although Signing of the Treaty was engraved below. Back in my room, I began to accumulate more facts. The date represented was April 30, 1803; the location was Paris, France; the men were James Monroe, Robert Livingston, and Francois Barbé-Marbois. Marbois (1745-1837) was France’s Minister of the Treasury under Napoleon Bonaparte; Livingston (1746-1813) was the US Ambassador to France. Monroe (1758-1831), who would become fifth president of the United States in 1817, was sent by Jefferson to join Livingston in France; as designated minister plenipotentiary, he had full authority to transact business on the President’s behalf. Jefferson didn’t send Monroe to buy the Louisiana Territory however; his mission was to buy the port of New Orleans. What happened was a surprise that Thomas Jefferson didn’t hear about until July 3. » read more


The Road Less Traveled

21 dark fields grassesLinda Burton posting from Jefferson City, Missouri – “I took the road less traveled by,” is a line from one of my favorite Frost poems; it came to mind today as I made my way to my next stop. I was on the freeway from Springfield to the Missouri state line, but I-72 qualifies as a road less traveled; traffic was light as I headed west through Illinois farmland; flat land, rich and dark and ready for the spring planting; or maybe that has already happened and the seeds are in there, waiting to pop up. Side-of-the-road grasses were already thick and bugs were already waiting; the wipers couldn’t stay ahead of the windshield splats. I watched the sky; sometimes blue, sometimes gray; 21 tree flattenedhopefully the line of storms predicted to come through in late afternoon would stay to the south. All over the country minds were reeling from the events in Oklahoma last night; an F-5 tornado cut a mile-wide swath through the town of Moore, wiping out two schools and killing children; destruction was incomprehensible. Moore is just south of Oklahoma City where cousin Jayne lives; I remembered seeing signs from the freeway when I was there. My plan today was to get from Springfield to Jefferson City during the lull between storms, with a quick 21 mark twainstop in Hannibal. I began to notice something amiss as I approached the Mississippi River, giant oaks with trunks twisted and flung to the ground; patches of trees with limbs ripped away. Something wicked this way has come, I thought, as I crossed the long bridge that took me into Missouri. The road curved up between limestone cliffs; on the hillside to my left the face of Mark Twain welcomed me to Hannibal. » read more


Hot Dam

Linda Burton posting from Pierre, South Dakota – “Now you’ve got me curious,” Pat said. “I’m going to look it up.” Pat Feiock was manning the Corps of Engineers Visitor Center at Oahe Dam today. He’d been answering my questions about the Dam, till I got to this one, about a fact printed on one of their display boards: “If Oahe Dam is the 4th largest man-made reservoir in the US, what are the other three?” He knew Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota was 3rd; we both surmised that Lake Mead would be one of the larger ones. He turned on his computer and began to search. “Yes, Lake Mead is 1st,” he said. “And Lake Powell 2nd. But then,” he hesitated, “there are so many way to measure – acre-feet of water, miles of shoreline, size of the dam, production capacity. There are lots of things you can compare.” We chatted a little more; then Pat jotted down his number so I could set up an appointment for a tour of the power plant on another day; it was too late today. I said goodbye and stepped out in the 103-degree heat. » read more


Pomp, and Circumstances

Linda Burton posting from Forsyth, Montana while traveling from Helena, Montana to Bismarck, North Dakota –I could see the Sleeping Giant across the valley this morning; the smoky haze was gone. No sleeping for me however; it was time to leave Helena; time to drive across Montana and see historic sights along the way. Too bad I wound up missing most of them, thanks to time spent trying to repair a malfunctioning GPS (an hour lost), time spent on teeth-jarring rutted roads (Highway 12 was de-paved for re-paving), and time spent searching for my wallet (it had bounced into the back seat under the cat supplies). Three hours behind and ravenous for some lunch, I allowed a stop at Wheat Montana, (the famous bakery where John Dough Actually Lives). But I bypassed the Missouri Headwaters, where three rivers converge to mark the beginning of the Missouri. The History. July 28, 1805, Meriwether Lewis recorded in his journal “both Capt. Clark and myself… agreed to name them after the President of the United States and the Secretaries of the Treasury and State…we called the S.W. fork… Jefferson’s River in honor of Thomas Jefferson…the Middle fork we called Madison’s River in honor of James Madison and the S.E. Fork we called Gallitin’s River in honor of Albert Gallitin…the first two are 90 yards wide and the last is 70 yards…all of them with great velocity.”

I missed Pompeys Pillar too, another integral part of the Lewis & Clark story, arriving nine minutes after the gates were locked. But Pomp’s is a story I’ll share with you anyway. » read more


Coming Through

Linda Burton posting from Carson City, Nevada – A painted blue line shows the way, accented by bronze medallions implanted in the sidewalk beneath my feet. The pear trees are in bloom today and it’s an easy downtown walk along the Kit Carson Trail, 2.5 miles of history, where I’m promised a pedestrian’s-eye glimpse of the past. Modern-day technology in the form of a podcast reveals the juicy bits and basic facts; 64 landmarks to see, and think about. Who came here, and when? Who stayed, and who passed on through?

It’s nice that someone put this together for us to see. Good citizens and lovers of history have made sure we can follow many “trails of the past” – like the Pony Express Trail (a plaque at Robinson and Carson reminds us); and the American Discovery Trail, a coast-to-coast endeavor extending from Delaware to California. It comes through just north of town. Are you familiar with the ADT?   » read more