Once again, we are on our beloved back roads wandering as the fancy pleases us. But for the first few days, we think there is only room to talk about highlights.
Warrensburg, MO is a college and military town, so it has a very transient population. Nonetheless, it is friendly and has lots to offer. For example, the local university library houses the largest collection of Bedouin artifacts in the country. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a parking place, so we settled for a few less intellectual sites.
In 1870, lawyer George Graham Vest made an impassioned plea on behalf of his client whose dog Old Drum had been shot by the defendant. There is a statue of Old Drum in front of the courthouse and a plaque quoting Vest’s speech, the source of the phrase, “a dog is man’s best friend.”
Across the tracks, is a 1954 segregated park that was wonderfully rebuilt from 2000 to 2005. It is dedicated to John William “Blind” Boone, 1864-1927, a celebrated ragtime and classical piano composer. It was worth the trip, and I plan to learn more about Boone.
Checking out our own web page list “sightseeing by state,” we saw “root beer” by Louisburg, KN. Stopping in the town, I chatted with an auctioneer who gave me directions to the Louisburg Cider Mill, which also produces a great pumpkin spread (and other jams and spreads), wonderful cider-flavored donuts, and Lost Trail Root Beer. It is not too sweet and really good. I need to update that list.
Heading north on Kansas 7, we stopped in Leavenworth where a lady we met on the street in front of his house who told us the family history of Fred Harvey, founder of the first chain of wholesome clean restaurants along the rail lines. Moving on, we saw Susan B. Anthony’s home high on a bluff above the river. We drove around several of the many Victorian homes and then passed Fort Leavenworth (serving the country since 1827) and Leavenworth Federal Prison (where many men are serving time).
After checking out the Atchison visitor center and railroad museum, we had a picnic under a cottonwood tree by the Missouri River. We then drove up to the top of the bluff where by accident we found Ameila Earhart’s birthplace. It was well advertised, but we weren’t looking for it. Lewis and Clark stopped by the area when there was only an Indian village; the Benedictines founded colleges for both men and women in 1858 and 1863; it was a river port and railroad center. The wealth that came with these activities led to the creation of many fine homes.