Monday, May 9, 2016

Brookes Park, Hazelwood, Missouri

We are now finally residing in St.Charles, Missouri.  And before I write of our exciting adventures here, I first want to share with you some fascinating information regarding a fellow traveler whom we met in our rv park at our stop in Illinois.  I am always intrigued about the life stories of  other people traveling around in recreational vehicles as we do.  Some are our age, and their only goal is to stay where is it cool in the summer and hot in the winter.  Others are young and traveling with young children while still pursuing their careers, namely in point, construction workers.  In California we met people in the film industry who move around, and there are also traveling nurses who are mobile.  One man pulled a small trailer along with his home, it was filled with toys which he daily mails out.
The elderly lady who was our neighbor next door in Illinois was traveling alone, except for her four dogs, two of which are fairly large.  She claimed that her macaw, with whom she also travels,  keeps the dogs in line by yelling "stop"when they bark too much.  I started talking to the lady because I wanted to compliment her on her hanging basket of bleeding hearts and bucket of hydrangeas.  She then proceeded to show me all of her plants, which are pictured above, and, according to her, fits well in her trailer.  Couple of the large planters had tomato plants, which are now in bloom.  Her home has been in the Florida Keys, and now she is traveling to Texas to meet up with family.  By the way, her truck is also quite stuffed with straw baskets, as well as other odds and ends.  More power to her, but I have no dreams of traveling in that manner!
On Saturday John stopped at a Honda dealership to pick up a part for our car, and after doing that he decided wanted to see what was at the end of road.  He frequently does that and we never discover anything exciting.  That did not happen this time, because we ended up in a park which had several historic buildings that had been moved there from their original locations.  Pictured above is the Kobbe House, built in the mid 1880s for a farmer and later owned by a German immigrant who married the farmer's daughter.  It was moved and restored in 2007.  Currently being used for Hazelwood community meetings and social events.
The Utz-Tesson house has a much more fascinating history.  It was built in 1782 as a one room log cabin.  In 1804 it was purchased by Auguste Chouteau, who expanded the building to have it as a residence for his slaves.  Chouteau , by the way, as well as his mom Madam Chouteau, were considered the founders of St.Louis which was a rapidly growing city in the early 1800s.  All this history wonderfully dovetails with the book I just finished reading The Journey by M. Gilbert.  It is an historical fiction novel based on the letters of General Atkinson's wife.  The couple were stationed at the fort which was situated at what is now Jefferson Barracks.  Their social circle included the Chouteaus, and the General's wife's uncle was Meriwether Clark- it has been is interesting for me to learn about the early settlers in St. Louis and their connections with each other.
Back to the story of the house.  In 1819 it was sold to Alex Stuart, son of the famous Confederate General Jeb Stuart.  He also used it for his slaves.  In 1832 it was purchased by Julius Utz, who divided the land between two nephews.  One of them was Major James Utz, hung in 1864 as a Confederate spy.  He had received a stay of execution from A. Lincoln, but it arrived too late.  Major Utz's widow lived in the house until she sold it in 1914 to Gregory Tesson.  That family and descendants lived in the house until 1993.
Ever hear the expression "dying with one's boots on"?   After touring Brookes park we returned to our car and for some reason I glanced upward and saw the bird pictured above.  Apparently that bird died while perched on a wire!  We watched for awhile, and not even the wind could toss him off.  What a strange and intriguing sight- certainly a rare one for us!

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