Monday, May 15, 2017

On the Lewis and Clark Trail

May 8 - 11, 2017:

Our journey took us from Topeka, Kansas to Rushville, Missouri and the Lewis and Clark State Park.  It was all on routes 4 and 59 passing through mostly farm land and small towns with huge grain elevators. The farm terrain was very hilly and all the cultivation was following the contours of the land.  These farmers kind of maneuver around the fields like artists to achieve this which prevents soil erosion.  Artist Tomas Hart Benton displayed this in many of his famous paintings. 
Rushville Missouri is the nearest town but there isn’t much to it these days although the little ramshackle downtown could easily be turned into a museum.



I just can't get enough of these massive structures

Thomas Hart Benton 

We seem to be following the 1804 Lewis and Clark, Journey of Discovery” expedition without really planning to do so.   The State Park is situated on a lake that Lewis and Clark explored and named in their journal, calling it “Gosling Lake” for its abundant waterfowl.  This Lake is known as an Ox-bow Lake and is common along the meandering Missouri River when the river course changes.  This is a beautiful campground with electrical hookup only, but water spigots are plentiful, there is a good shower room and a dump station.


Nice monument to the Lewis and Clark expedition
on the lake front

Gosling Lake as it looks now, this area is all very low lying
and prone to flooding

The green area on the map was the land obtained in
the Louisiana Purchase at the time of the expedition 

We have a nice open green campsite

Lewis and Clark also camped about 5 miles away on a creek they named “Independence Creek” as they celebrated July 4th there.  There is a small park at the site although it is not marked or maintained much these days.  Considerable effort and expense went into building this years ago with a walking bridge over the Creek connecting to a trail and a couple of interpretive signs explaining how this was once a major village area of the Kansa tribe.  It seems that money, most likely state and federal grants becomes available to build these sites, but not to maintain them.  The towns sadly don’t have the money for maintenance and aren’t motivated or creative enough to fund raise or organize volunteers unless it involves stick and ball sports.


The road leading to Independence Creek passed
this really unusual old stone barn

A reconstructed Kansa Indian village mound house

Independence Creek probably looks about the same today
as it did when Lewis and Clark saw it ?

 The city of Atchison, Kansas is about 5 miles away across the Missouri River.  Atchison was a vibrant Missouri River port and became a major outfitting place for settlers heading west. The economy then really took off with the coming of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.  There aren’t many river boats these days, but it still remains a vibrant freight yard for the current Burlington Northern Santa Se Railroad (BNSF).  The City’s business district  sits in a valley at the confluence of the White Clay Creek and the Missouri River.  As a result, the city has been flooded many times in it’s history, they didn’t do much planning back in those days.  Most of the residential areas of the city are now built up on the surrounding hills and bluffs overlooking the river.



Welcome to Atchison sign

View across another creek named by Lewis and
Clark called the "4th of July 1804 Creek"

View of the Missouri River

Old Railroad bridge in foreground and the newer
Amelia Earhart Bridge in rear

Railroad building next to tracks

Nice downtown view

Atchison was founded by David Rice Atchison in 1854 as a pro-slavery town during that very turbulent period prior to the Civil War.  The most famous resident of Aitchison was Amelia Earhart who was born and spent her youth in her grandparents beautiful house on a bluff top overlooking the river. This house is now open as a museum and is a major attraction. The Benedictine College is another impressive institution in Aitchison that began in 1863 with the Benedictine Sister.
Amelia Earhart display at the museum

Amelia Earhart House

I couldn't bypass the Aitchison Historical and Railroad Museum located in the old freight building as the original Station was torn down in the 1950's.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Atchison,_Topeka_and_the_Santa_Fe


Abraham Lincoln enjoyed Atchison too

The founder of Atchison was a devoted pro-
slavery supporter but went on to become
a very influential Senator 

The destruction of the Free State Hotel

This was an incredible story, even Ripley thought so

Display on William M. Boular

Atchison Corn Carnival was a huge event

Old Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Steam Locomotive

Trains and grain elevators seem to be perfect together

I happened to see this Robin feeding the young ones

Another very interesting nearby city is St. Joseph, Missouri which like Atchison gained growth as a river and rail shipping center.  It is actually considerably larger than Atchison with much more industry.  Twinkles dropped me off downtown for a few hours where I had a photographic feeding frenzy while she went shopping. This worked very well and I think we will do this more often in the future.

The Missouri Theater in St Joseph

There are many large factory building such as this remaining

This jewelry shop with its beautiful sign was a personal
favorite of mine, hope someone will save it

St Joseph has a series of huge murals, this one is
on the pioneer days

This Mural was on the Civil War

I thought it interesting to see a building exterior in the
process of being restored, what a difference !

"Always on the job" security alarm on
the bank exterior

Oldest building west of the Mississippi to continuously
operate as a Bank

The Pony Express operated from here
in its final month

In New Jersey, everywhere you go it’s claimed that George Washington slept there, while along the Missouri River it’s Lewis and Clark camped here.  As I visit another nearby town, Weston Missouri, I find that they stopped here to repair a broken mask on their boat.  
Originally Weston was the most prominent city in the area, even bigger than Kansas City,  with the Missouri River and Railroad connections.  The city was booming until the Missouri River changed course and moved 2 miles away.  As result, Weston escaped progress, it’s beautiful buildings survived and today it remains a beautiful small town with much of it’s downtown on the "Register of Historic Buildings" list.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weston,_Missouri


Buffalo Bill was here too !
Super nice downtown buildings

The Saint James Hotel

Downtown street view

Dutch pottery shop was incredible

Old cigar making business started in 1937 using local farmers
tobacco is still in operation

Weston Brewing Company is the second oldest brewery
west of the Hudson started in 1842.

O'Malley's Pub is probably the coolest pub west of the Hudson !

Great old barn along the road I couldn't pass by

There is an amazing Brewery in Weston started by a German immigrant in 1842 which became very productive and popular.  It promoting itself as the 2nd oldest Brewery west of Hudson River and sponsored the first Kansas City Royals baseball team in the early 1900’s.   The Brewery came back to operation in 2005 as the Weston Brewing Company with the America Bowman Restaurant and O’Malley’s Irish Pub operated in the original Brewery building.  There are five brick lined cellars underground that were originally used to lager and chill the beer in large oaken tanks.  Today there are two pub cellar rooms on two different levels that you get to by walking down stairs and through tunnels.  After a few pints of beer could this be hazardous ?  The lower cellar room is without a doubt the most incredible pub room, super cool !  The brick walls and ceilings, the darkness and Irish decorative elements throughout make this pub really special, you gotta go to Ireland to find anything better !




Next stop is a visit to the "Missouri Star Quilt Company" in Hamilton, Missouri,
Twinkles and Slick  

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