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Archive for missouri

Wren’s Legacy in Missouri

By Linda Tancs

The Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, is a 17th-century English church located in Fulton, Missouri. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 devastated London (and subsequently badly damaged during the Blitz), it was shipped piece-by-piece to its current location at Westminster College in Fulton, where it was faithfully restored to Wren’s specifications and serves as the only building in the U.S. designed by him. Beneath the church is the National Churchill Museum, honoring the prime minister’s visit to the college in 1946 and recognized in 2009 by  Congress as America’s permanent tribute to him.

Caves and Cowboys in Missouri

By Linda Tancs

Where can you find rides and attractions, dining and shows, festivals, crafts and a show cave? That would be at Silver Dollar City, an 1880s-style theme park in Branson, Missouri, set upon the foundations of a genuine 1800s mining town. The popular Ozarks tourist attraction was built around Marvel Cave, a wet limestone cave boasting the largest entrance room in the United States. A cave tour is included with theme park admission. Today through October 27 the National Crafts & Cowboy Festival takes place, featuring visiting craftsmen and a salute to the American cowboy that includes wild mustangs, an old-fashioned barn dance, chuck wagon cooking and more. This year’s event coincides with the final run of the Wild West Show, inspired by the legendary Buffalo Bill.

The Legendary Pony Express

By Linda Tancs

Johnny Fry was the first rider for the Pony Express, the nation’s mail service connecting the eastern terminus of St. Joseph, Missouri, with Sacramento, California, in the west. Fry began the storied route on April 3, 1860, from historic Pikes Peak Stables in St. Joseph. Over 400 horses were purchased for the endeavor covering 2,000 miles, the riders enduring uncertain weather and rugged terrain to meet their appointed rounds until the service’s demise in October 1861. Their stories are told at the Pony Express National Museum on Penn Street.

Missouri’s Picturesque River Town

By Linda Tancs

Approximately 85 miles north of St. Louis is the quaint river town of Louisiana, Missouri. Located on the banks of the Mississippi and smack-dab in the middle of a national scenic byway, it boasts not only great river views but also soaring rock cliffs, rolling hills, architectural charm and a vibrant arts community. In fact, it’s particularly prized for its antebellum homes and what the Department of Natural Resources calls “the most intact Victorian streetscape in the state of Missouri.” The first residence was built in 1817, and many of the town’s 4,000 or so inhabitants are descendants of the early settlers. Louisiana is also one of three communities forming the 50 Miles of Art corridor. Together with Clarksville and Hannibal, the community is home to artisans who create one-of-a-kind masterpieces and host twice-yearly gallery and studio tours.

Great American Main Street

By Linda Tancs

What do New Jersey, Wyoming and Missouri have in common? For the current year, at least, the answer is that each state boasts a winning town in the 2015 Great American Main Street Award® contest. Each year the National Main Street Center (a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation) bestows honors on those communities it deems to be a shining example of commercial district revitalization. This year’s honorees are Cape Girardeau in Missouri, Montclair Center Business Improvement District in New Jersey and Rawlins, Wyoming. Thanks to the art of reinvention, you won’t find them rolling up the sidewalks at night.

Thirty Miles in Every Direction

By Linda Tancs

In St. Louis, Missouri, the Gateway Arch is more than just a great view (30 miles in every direction, in fact): it’s a gateway to the past.  Symbolizing the nation’s westward expansion, the steel-clad monument is home to the Museum of Westward Expansion, a Lewis and Clark inspired tribute to the Old West and the explorers who helped forge a nation.  Animatronic figures bring the past to life, along with interactive exhibits including a tipi and covered wagon.

History in the Upper Mississippi

By Linda Tancs

The Upper Mississippi River runs from the headwaters of Lake Itasca in Minnesota to Cairo, Illinois, a distance of about 1,250 miles.  Along that mighty trek, you’ll find Hannibal, Missouri, Samuel Clemens’ inspiration for St. Petersburg, the fictional hometown of his most famous character, Tom Sawyer.  Better known by his pen name Mark Twain, Clemens’ boyhood home in Hannibal was granted National Historic Landmark status in 1962.  Part of a city-owned array of museum properties (including Judge Clemens’ Justice of the Peace Office, Grant’s Drug Store/Pilaster House, and Tom and Huck Statue), the boyhood home on North Main Street is one of the oldest historic preservation projects in the country.

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