Saturday, April 28, 2012

Old Peace Chapel

This chapel, located on the grounds of Boonesfield Village, was built in the mid-1800s. The small building to the left of it served as the pastor's study. Originally the church was a general store, and after that a tavern. It was remodeled in 1904 and in 1905 it opened as Deutsche Evangelische Friedens Fermeinde. The congregation in New Melle, Missouri, who once used this church, still travel here once a year to hold services in the chapel. The inside of the church, patterned after New England style churches, has a simple elegance about her. The floor and pews are made of long-leaf red pine, a wood which today is considered endangered. The two tablets on either side of the altar have the Ten Commandments written on them.
The church has a couple other interesting features. There is a tower clock, built in 1865, which actually operates three separate clock dials, one of which is on the steeple. It originally was designed to be connected to the bell in the bell tower so that the bell would ring at regular intervals. The clock is still in fine working order. There is also a pipe organ in the chapel which though newly made, incorporates some very old pipes dating from the 1800s. The chapel is currently available for private weddings.
Every time I visit Boone's home I look for the site of the old Judgment Tree, where Daniel Boone would hold court with the local people. In 1804 he served as military administrator for the Spanish government (Missouri was then part of the Louisiana Purchase). The first time I visited here the tree was still upright (it had been killed by Dutch elm disease)  but I do believe then it was filled with concrete to preserve it. It has since fallen and lies in the area where it once stood. Down the hill from it are springs and the Boone's old spring house. Currently yellow iris flowers are blooming by the springs. Boone's old homestead is certainly a beautiful, peaceful place filled with  lots of history. Speaking of history, I have some other interesting trivia which I learned while touring the village. Abraham Lincoln's great grandfather, John Lincoln, had a half-brother who married Daniel Boone's first cousin, Ann Boone. Another interesting fact is that Daniel Boone was the first American born explorer in the United States. I have no absolute proof of the later fact.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Boonesfield Village

It seems as though we have had either very hot days or days which are cool and rainy since we have parked here in St.Charles. Today the sun was out it in all its' glory, but a cool breeze keep the day from getting too hot. We thought it a perfect day to drive out to Defiance Missouri, the last place Daniel Boone lived before he died. He was not very rich in his last days and the home he lived in was actually owned by his son Nathan. Nathan and his wife had 14 children, however they still were able to let Grandfather Boone live in a couple of the rooms. The house was built in 1810, and Boone died there in 1820. The outside walls of the house have gun ports, as back then there was still a fear of Indians attacking homesteads. The back of the house faced the Femme Osage River, which now is a little creek.
 Boone's daughter Jemima and son Squire also lived in Missouri with their families- their homes have been moved to Boonesfield Village. John and I have visited Daniel Boone's home many times over the years- one time I even took our son Daniel's Boy Scout troop there. Back then there was just the home to visit. Now there has been moved to the grounds a variety of other buildings from the 1800's. Pictured below is Jemima Boone's home. You may remember from your history books that she was at one time captured by the Indians- however her father was able to get her back. That incident happened when they lived in Kentucky.
From the size of the house, I am guessing that Jemima also had a large family, I do know that Daniel Boone and his wife ended up with 70 grandchildren! We had a tour guide for the village, and from her we learned a few interesting facts. In the 1837 Mount Hope schoolhouse she showed us a replica of a horn slate from which the children learned their basic reading skills. The letters "s" and "f" were used interchangeably as they looked closely the same. And,  as you may notice in the picture of the slate below,  the letter "f" is shown twice in the alphabet. Also look at the word Holy Ghost. And while we are on that subject, while touring the carpenter's shop, I learned the origin of the word "sabotage". Wooden clogs were made back in the 1800's and French people called them "sabot". They could be easily taken off and thrown at any political speaker whose viewpoints the wearer of the shoe did not agree with. In effect, the speech was sabotaged.
The grounds have a variety of gardens which were planted back in the 1800's, one of which is a garden for plants used for dying clothes. Pictured below is the woad plant. The flower is yellow, however, by some complicated process, it produces a blue color. It originally came from Northern Europe.
Looks like this posting is getting a bit long, I will write more about our visit to Boonesfield Village tomorrow.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Columbia, Missouri

We are parked in St.Charles, Missouri, having arrived here April 10 from Farmington. It has been hard not to always be on the go, which is what we are likely to do when we park in a strange city. It is a good trade-off however, for here in our hometown we are able to spend time with family and friends. And our home currently is next to the Katy Trail, where we can hike or bike whenever we feel we have energy to burn off. This past Wednesday we drove over to Alton, Illinois to ride the Great River Road Trail. We rode on our bikes from Grafton to the Pere Marquette State Park, a journey of about 4miles one-way. Don't laugh, I know that does not sound like much on bikes, but our bikes have no gears and we had removed the battery packs. Hills are a challenge on those bikes! On Thursday of this week we paid my sister Linda a visit in Columbia, Mo. I told her I would like to a write about her home town and asked her to show me some sites of the town which to her define Columbia. Our first stop was the Shelter Gardens where currently a variety of trees and plants are in bloom. For most of Missouri it has been a warm winter which brought an early spring. Azaleas, iris, peonies, lilacs and roses are all in bloom at the same time. The roses pictured below, which surround a fountain in the gardens, do not usually bloom in April! The gardens are quite beautiful at this time with everything in bloom.
 Columbia is the home of Missouri State University, which was our next stop. The university was the first land grant college west of the Mississippi River,  it was founded in the Louisiana Territory purchased from France during the Jefferson administration. Jefferson's original grave marker was given to the university by his heirs in 1883. Later on the university added a sculpture of Jefferson and gardens in honor of his unique connection with the university. Francis Quadrangle, also located on campus, was a design first used by Jefferson at the University of Virginia.
 In the 1890's one of the first buildings of the university was damaged by fire. That building's ionic columns were saved and became famous landmarks both for the college and downtown Columbia. Six of them stand in front of the university's administration building. It is a favorite hang-out for MU students
The rest of the columns can be seen from the campus looking toward the downtown area of Columbia. Lastly, when I think of the University of Missouri I always think of Beetle Bailey, whose statue can be found on the grounds of the campus. His creator, Mort Walker, was a 1948 alumnus of the university. He started drawing the laid-back student and army private in 1950. Primarily because of the university, Columbia continues to grow. Since the last time I have been here student apartments are springing up all over Columbia and the town is starting to spread out into the surrounding countryside. However, it still seems to keep its' small town appeal!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Farmington, Missouri

Monday we left Little Rock and traveled as far as Poplar Bluff, Missouri. The vehicle park had many blooming dogwood. trees. In Little Rock they were just about done with blooming, these are at their peak.
We arrived in Farmington Missouri on Tuesday. Later that day the rains came- it was overcast and rainy for a couple of days. What a contrast to the many dry days we had experienced in California, Nevada and New Mexico! We are now parked outside of Farmington, Missouri. It is a bit of a drive into town to visit John's sister and her husband,  however we can't complain about that as it is a beautiful drive through the rolling hills and farm fields where everything is so lush and green. We enjoyed our time out west,  but there is something to be said for the midwest and the changing seasons. By Thursday we were anxious to be outside and hiking. It was still misting and overcast, but the worse threat of storms had passed. John's sister Carolyn and her husband Jim had guests with small children from Albuquerque, New Mexico. We decided that the children especially would enjoy Elephant Rocks State Park. It turned out that we adults also enjoyed climbing up and squeezing in between the rocks as much as the children did! Pictured below is our niece Rebecca on one of the larger boulders in the park. Somehow she always managed to get on the very big rocks, but then needed help getting down! Our friends from Albuquerque enjoyed seeing the mist as it lay over the distant hills. Their home town usually does not see this large amount of moisture and greenery.
Some of the large boulders have holes in them. In the mid 1800's core samples were drilled from the rock to determine the mineral quality and economic value of the rock. That analysis showed that the best use of the granite rock was for building material. The old quarry is still present in the park, and is now a deep pond.
Happy Easter to all our readers- Christ is risen indeed and we are very blessed by his love and grace. We are moving to St.Louis on Tuesday, our postings may not be as frequent on this blog site for while, but you never know (and I never know) when something strikes me as interesting enough to write about!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Our Last Two Days in Little Rock, Arkansas

Saturday was the warmest day of our week in Little Rock. We headed out to the Big Dam Bridge, the world's longest pedestrian bridge in the world designed expressly for foot and bike traffic. As the bridge stands 90 feet above the Arkansas River, we decided that walking its' length made more sense than trying to pump our bikes uphill in the heat. Not much of the bridge has shade.
The bridge was built on top of the dam, which had already been built. Construction of the bridge was completed in 2006. We enjoyed our walk on the bridge; turtles and pelicans in the water entertained us, as well as one young man who was fishing on the shore below us. When his fishing rod started bending and he had to struggle to keep a grip on his pole, I realized that he had caught a big one!  It was about a twenty pound fish, just a guess on our part. From the bridge we could see Pinnacle Mountain, our next stop for the day. Pinnacle's rocky peak arises 1,011 feet above the flood plains adjacent to it.  With its' cone-shaped peak,  it has been an Arkansas landmark for generations. Unfortunately by the time we arrived at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, it was too late in the day to climb the mountain, so we choose some shorter trails.
Sunday we started our day at Faith Lutheran in Little Rock. Their choir performed an inspiring cantata which was composed specifically for Passion Week observance. It is called "Whispers of the Passion" by Joseph Martin. We spent our Sunday afternoon at Historic Arkansas Museum where they have presently a special exhibit, "Reel to Real: Gone with the Wind and the Civil War in Arkansas". The Reel exhibit includes memorabilia from the movie, as costumes, photos and movie outtakes. The Real part of the exhibit contrasts the harsh reality of life from the romanticized version of the movie, as it was for Arkansans during the Civil War era. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Little Rock- I can say that it will remain in our memories as a wonderful city to tour with many interesting places to visit. Equally important for us is the fact that many of those places have hiking and/or bicycling trails. Of course it does also help that Little Rock has on her spring finery at present! Pictured below is the Cherokee rose, a flowering bush which we saw at the history museum.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

River Market District of Little Rock, Arkansas- Part Two

In my previous posting I mentioned that we had stopped at the Market Hall for frozen lollies. Walking through that building, which is like a giant food court, we stepped outside to view the Farmer's Market pavilions. Unfortunately for us that market does not start up until the middle of April. We did, however, see the River Market Pig, a rather large bronze sculpture of a pig who seems to be guarding a fountain of koi.
We spent a good part of Friday afternoon at the State House Museum. Built in 1836, it is the oldest state capitol west of the Mississippi River. The new capitol was built during the turn of the 20th century.  A lot of Arkansas history is chronicled in the exhibits in the old State House. The building also once served as the University of Arkansas School of Medicine.When the school was in the old capitol it played a role in the Crossett Experiment, which led to the eradication of malaria-bearing mosquitoes through-out the world.
We made it to the Peabody Hotel in time to see the ducks leave the fountain in the lobby and march to an elevator- the music of John P. Sousa accompanied them. Their trainer walked with the ducks and kept them in line by gentling poking them with his stick. Actually they did not need much guidance! They are pictured below on the red carpet, their trainer is the man in the red coat. The ducks took it all in stride!
 Our last stop was at the Korean Gate and International Garden. The Grand Master of Taekwondo, H.U.Lee, loved Arkansas and the city of Little Rock. The state's rolling hills, green pines and beautiful lakes reminded him of South Korea. He consequently made Little Rock the international headquarters for the American Association of Taekwondo. On his passing his wife honored him by gifting the city with the Korean Gate, which was constructed in South Korea and then shipped here. The gate is colorfully decorated with the figures of dragons, birds, flowers and lady drummers. A small garden lies beyond the entrance doors.
We ended our day riding an electric streetcar which took us by the historic sites of North Little Rock and Little Rock (we had chained up our bikes at the old State House). We finally arrived home at 7PM.