Thursday, July 9, 2015

St. Joseph, Missouri

It seemed appropriate that, after spending 3 months in the rainy St. Louis area, we would leave the city in a rainstorm.  Fortunately, the further westward we went the rain abated.  Our first stop for the night was St. Joseph, Missouri.  We had visited the city in the past with our children and thought we had seen all the tourist attractions, which mainly amounted to the Jesse James house (where the outlaw had been shot) and  Pony Express Museum.  We received a tourism brochure of St. Joseph after we had parked for the night and learned that there were 13 museums in the city.   Our plans to leave the following day were quickly scrapped!
It was the vision of Dr. R. Varabedum, president of Missouri Western State University, that there be a memorial for Walter Cronkite, native son of St.Joseph.  The memorial was built on the campus of the university and dedicated in 2013.  It was was our first stop for the day.  This memorial has 19 exhibits pertaining to the life and work of the legendary CBS news anchor who became known as the most trusted man in America.  He covered World War ll and the Vietnam War, and interviewed Presidents Kennedy through Carter.  His broadcasts covered the beginning of the Mercury space program through the events relating to the space shuttle.
Pictured above is the 1967 interview of John Glenn with a replica of the Gemini model owned by Cronkite. It was distributed by McDonnell Engineering, many of you many recognize the presence of the St.Louis Arch over the Gemini model.   I most enjoyed the television display at the memorial which contains 39 images of world and national news events covered while Cronkite served as news anchor from 1962-1981.  Most memorable to me was his coverage of the assignation of President Kennedy.  Many of you may remember that he always ended his news hour with “and that is the way it is”. 

The rest of our day in St.Joesph on Wednesday was spent stepping further back into history- like 1843 when Joseph Robidoux, a fur trader, founded St.Joseph.  And yes, he named the city after his patron saint.  Back then many newcomers, coming up the Missouri River by steamboat, found it difficult to find lodging while their homes were being built.  To meet that need Robidoux built a series of connected apartments in the new town.  The four remaining units of Robidoux Row have been restored and are pictured above.  We were able to tour the inside, guided by a very knowledgeable docent.  The quarters are furnished with some of Robidoux's furnishings, and that of other family members.  Pictured below is a silk upholstered rocker brought from New Orleans by Roubidoux for his wife.
Before I conclude this posting I must mention the weasel, pictured below.
The weasel is used for measuring yarn, and 150 turns of it measures one hank of yarn.  After 150 turns the machine emits a popping sound, and thus the song "Pop goes the weasel" came about!
I will write more on St.Joesph in my next posting, we certainly put in a full day there.

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